Mark Sharpe proposing domestic partner registry for all of Hillsborough County
Hillsborough County commissioner Mark Sharpe will propose creating a domestic partnership registry when his board meets Thursday, following the course of the city of Tampa, which became the first government in the area to pass such a measure last April.
But, of course, the county is not the same as the city, so it is uncertain how the proposal will be received by other commissioners.
Sharpe added an item to next week's Commission agenda asking the county administrator and attorney to work together in crafting the registry. It would allow gay and straight couples who are not married to enjoy a limited number of the same rights as married couples. For instance, the city registry recognizes the right of those who participate to make medical decisions for a partner who is incapacitated, make funeral arrangements or participate in the education of a child of a domestic partner.
While the registry would apply to gay and straight couples, it may run into opposition in the more conservative county. Hillsborough commissioners are better known for opposing the extension of discrimination protections for gays, lesbians and the transgendered, for instance. Then again, the County Commission now includes an openly gay board member, Kevin Beckner, who has been elected and reelected in countwide races.