Unmarried couples, gay and straight, in Pinellas County will be able to register as domestic partners following Tuesday's vote by county commissioners, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
The legal recognition will give couples the right to visit each other in the emergency room, make health care decisions for each other in a crisis and, depending on their employers, share health insurance coverage, the Times reports. Commissioners voted 6-1 to approve the registry, with Norm Roche casting the dissenting vote.
The Times story notes that residents of Gulfport, St. Petersburg and Clearwater, where domestic partnership registries are already in place, the planned $50 fee will be reduced. Those residents will only have to pay the difference between their cities' fees and the county's fee.
In Clearwater, there are more than 30 couples who signed up to the registry.
For residents in unincorporated Clearwater, the law takes effect in 10 days, although officials said it will probably be about 90 days before they are ready to open registration for couples.
What's your take? Should domestic partners be granted rights that are now only granted to men and women who are married? Did Pinellas County make the right move? Post a comment below.
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