Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas County Commission sets Jan. 15 for domestic partner registry vote

Pinellas County commissioners set a date in mid-January for their vote on whether to establish a countywide domestic partnership registry, one that would stitch together the registries that three cities already have created.

At its Thursday meeting, the board approved Jan. 15 for a public hearing and vote on the matter. A majority of commissioners have declared their support for the registry.

Like the domestic partnership registries in the cities of Gulfport, St. Petersburg and Clearwater, the county law would grant unmarried couples, gay or straight, certain rights that currently are afforded only through marriage.

It would allow unmarried couples to visit each other in hospital emergency rooms, make health care decisions for each other in crises, and be notified in emergencies, just as a family member would be.

Pinellas Clerk of Courts Ken Burke said he expects it will cost about $50 for couples to register, money that will be used to cover the expense of creating and maintaining the registry. That job likely will fall to his staff.

The registry itself would be a public list online of names and addresses, a level of visibility that has some concerned.

"How do we protect someone's privacy if they don't want someone looking into their personal information?" said Commissioner Karen Seel. "What I'm concerned about is if somebody decides they want to target someone."

County attorney Jim Bennett defended the need to make the list easily accessible. Barriers, such as an access code or password, could make it difficult for school and health officials to verify that couples are registered as domestic partners, he said.

If the registry is approved, which is likely, county officials and city clerks will have to decide how to reconcile their registries. In St. Petersburg, 223 couples have paid to become domestic partners. In Gulfport, 38 have done so.

Couples may have to re-register with the county, Burke said.

In that case, Commissioner Norm Roche proposed that couples who have registered already in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, or Gulfport, be grandfathered into the county's list.

"I don't want to see folks who've paid $25 to register with the city, pay another $50 to register with the county," he said.

Anna M. Phillips can be reached at [email protected] or (727)893-8779.

Pinellas County Commission sets Jan. 15 for domestic partner registry vote 12/06/12 [Last modified: Thursday, December 6, 2012 10:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Dunedin man arrested for having destruction devices, deputies say

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Deputies will be speaking later today to discuss a Dunedin man who was charged with possessing destruction devices in his home.

  2. Officials release names of those aboard plane that landed in St. Pete neighborhood


    ST. PETERSBURG — Officials released the names of the two people aboard the plane that made an emergency landing Wednesday on a neighborhood street in south St. Petersburg.

  3. Spencer: 'A better and more beautiful world if people like me were in power'


    In the a small theater crammed with cameras, Richard Spencer and a small group of his coordinators clashed with reporters as his controversial speech in the Phillips Center drew near Thursday.

    A crowd gathers ahead of Richard Spencer's appearance at the University of Florida on Oct. 19, 2017. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  4. Analysis: George W. Bush's unmistakable takedown of Trumpism - and Trump


    For the last nine years, George W. Bush has largely stayed out of presidential politics; he declined to criticize his successor, Barack Obama, and he chose not to endorse but largely ignored President Donald Trump. While Mitt Romney and others spoke out publicly against Trump, Bush stayed above the fray.

    That …

    Former President George W. Bush speaks at a forum sponsored by the George W. Bush Institute in New York on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. [Seth Wenig | Associated Press]
  5. Fennelly: Even frustrated Bucs fans hold out hope


    Many fans wrote back when I threw out an all-points the other day, asking if Bucs fans are perpetually in a state of expecting the worst.

    Bucs fans cheer during a preseason game against the Washington Redskins in August at Raymond James Stadium.