In an email to supporters, Joe Saunders, State Field Director for Equality Florida is shouting victory as Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and the Orlando City Commission voted unanimously to create Central Florida’s first domestic partnership registry!
The registry, which takes effect January 12th, will extend vital legal protections to lesbian and gay families in Florida. Protections offered from the registry are restricted to Orlando City limits but Saunders expects that couples from across the region will be lining up to participate.
When the registry goes into effect, any unmarried couple who lives, works or visits Orlando can gain the right to make medical decisions for an incapacitated partner, be notified in a life threatening emergency, visit a partner in a health-care facility and participate in the education of a partner’s children.
“This is such an important step in our fight for equality and we’re proud to have worked with some of the most dynamic leaders in the City of Orlando. For over a year, Equality Florida has been working with activists from the Orlando Anti-Discrimination Ordinance Committee to lay out the social and business arguments for this important policy. From the outset we found a friend and ally in Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.” Says Saunders.
In quoting Mayor Dyer: “I support the domestic partnership registry because I believe it keeps us competitive with other world-class communities,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “A domestic partnership registry helps us recruit employers who share our commitment to diversity while attracting and retaining a creative workforce that knows they’ll have protections for their families.“
Today, noted Saunders, we celebrate the leadership of Mayor Dyer and the rest of the City Commission for making Orlando a welcoming city for all families;” and further that the fight will continue as Orlando activists want to bring these critical protections to all of Orange County, Florida, in the that Orange County government will commit to taking the protections offered by the domestic partnership registry countywide.
“No couple should be forced in an emergency to decide between a hospital near them or a medical facility that would recognize their partnership within Orlando city limits.”
While this is indicative of a winning streak for equality, the ultimate goal to end discrimination against same-sex couples in Florida and the U.S.A. is to not stop short of full equality, with a right to marry under State law and full federal recognition of such right through the repeal of the defense of marriage Act, otherwise known as DOMA.
by Melanie Nathan