Monday, January 26, 2004

Ohio City votes for domestic partnerships 

One more smackdown for bigots. Connie Mabin of AP reports:

Gay and straight unmarried couples can officially register as partners at City Hall [in Cleveland Heights, Ohio] beginning Monday, a procedure advocates cheer as a step toward greater recognition for same-sex unions and opponents fear will one day undermine marriage.

The registry is not marriage and it's not binding on courts, governments or companies. But supporters hope it will make it easier for couples to eventually share employment benefits, inherit property or get hospital visiting rights.

An estimated 100 unmarried couples were expected to show up at City Hall on the registry's opening day, including Doug Braun, 42, and his partner of 14 years, Brian DeWitt, 48.

Domestic registries have been created by councils and state legislatures elsewhere. The Vermont Legislature created the nation's first law recognizing the relationships of same-sex couples, and California created a statewide registry for same-sex couples and gave them some of the legal standing of married spouses.

The Cleveland Heights initiative - passed with 55 percent of the vote in November - was the first through a ballot issue, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Call me crazy (just not Crazy Andy) but I still think that handled properly, and appealing to "the better angels of our nature," this could be a wedge issue for the Democrats. Maybe Cheney's daughter/campaign manager will move to Cleveland Heights!

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