Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Around The Nation

Senate Subcommittee Passes Statewide Domestic Partnership Registry Bill
TALLAHASSEE, FL --  The Florida State Senate Children, Families, and Elder Affairs subcommittee Monday passed the 'Families First bill' [SB 196] in a 5 to 4 vote. The measure would provide limited legal protections for same-sex unmarried partners creating a statewide domestic partnership registry. The bill now heads to the Senate Judiciary committee for its review and vote before it is sent on to the full Senate. 
Equality Florida's president, Nadine Smith noted in a press release after the subcommittee's vote;
“A majority of Floridians already live in a local community that has a domestic partnership registry. Places like Pinellas County, Volusia County, Orange County, Broward County, Miami-Dade County, Key West, Tampa, Orlando, Gainesville, Tavares, Clearwater and North Miami already have registries. 
The Families First bill would eliminate the patchwork of policies and allow people to have important legal protections for their family, no matter where they live. 
[...] Local Domestic Partnership Registries now protect roughly 50% of Florida's population. The protections are vital especially since the state has a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality."
Legal observers point out that under current Florida law, persons in unmarried domestic partnerships who are barred from civil unions and marriage by Florida's passage of Amendment 2 in 2008, are unable to enjoy the legal protections such as hospital visitation, correctional facility visitation, end of life decision making and burial arrangements.
An identical Florida House version of the bill, HB 259, is currently pending before the House judiciary Committee.