The St. Petersburg City Council's unanimous vote this week to create a domestic partnership registry reflects strong support for the city's gay community. It will give all unmarried couples — gay and heterosexual — some of the same basic rights as married couples, and it reflects the city's more progressive values. St. Petersburg joins Tampa, Clearwater and several other Florida cities in conferring upon same-sex couples some of the commonsense rights they deserve under the law. Pinellas County should follow suit with its own registry so couples can travel from place to place in the county without worrying that they are leaving their rights behind.
Under the new ordinance, members of domestic partnerships can visit each other in the hospital, make medical decisions for each other if one is incapacitated, and receive notification in case of emergency, among other rights already enjoyed by married couples. The law's approval was an inevitable step in the direction of equal rights for same-sex couples. Now it's time for Pinellas County to create a countywide registry. Such a measure would reduce confusion both among couples and the institutions adjusting to the new standards.
St. Petersburg's domestic partnership registry is a sizable step forward for the city's gay couples. Pinellas County, and counties across the state, should continue the broader fight for equality.