Domestic Partnership Registry in Largo? City Commission Weighs In
Commissioners will wait for answers from the city attorney before they make a decision on possibly creating a domestic partnership registry.
The Largo City Commission discussed the possibility of creating a domestic partnership registry at its Sept. 11 work session.
The city staff will get answers to commission questions, such as the legal ramifications of the proposed registry, before the commission would move forward on possibly creating a registry.
A domestic partnership registry would give partners rights such as health care visitations and a say in some health care and funeral/burial decisions.
Some commission members questioned if they had the authority to create a domestic partnership registry. An ordinance would need to be written and passed.
"Do we even have the power to do this?" Commissioner Curtis Holmes asked.
Commissioner Harriet Crozier wondered, "Could I not go to an attorney and fill out the proper paperwork and get these rights?"
Mayor Pat Gerard said the attorney's costs would be much higher than the $30 fee proposed by the city for couples to register as domestic partners.
Commissioner Woody Brown said 90 percent of what the commission was trying to do could be accomplished with a health care surrogate with some forms available for free online. He said the city could put a link on its website.
The commssion discussed the reasons behind possibly creating a domestic partnership registry.
Commissioner Michael Smith suggested in July considering a domestic partnership registry. The registry would be "another backup protetion for our citizens. ... This is not about trying to redefine marriage," Smith said.
"It's people supporting people," Commissioner Robert Murray said. "The fundamental concern people have for each other. I am interested in responses from the attorney (to commission concerns) I think the bottom line of this, is it's important in supporting people."
Brown said he could support a registry for same-sex couples but not support a "broad-scale registry that grants rights to all couples who choose not to get married."
The city staff will get answers to questions about the commission's authority to create the registry and the possible liablity exposure to the city if the commission did so.
The commission also discussed providing health insurance benefits to the domestic partners of city employees. The city staff will find out for the commission the cost of providing those benefits.