The Tavares City Council on Wednesday
approved creation of a domestic partnership registry.
The Florida city voted 4-1 to become
the first in Lake County with such a registry. The registry will be
set up by May 1.
Gay and straight couples who register
their relationships are extended benefits such as hospital
visitation, emergency notifications, jail visits and funeral
decisions, according to the Orlando
“The people I know, the people in
this room, have been in long-term relationships, in my case 35
years,” said Dale Gruber, a resident who asked city officials in
December to consider the registry. “Hasn't that been long enough
to earn the safeguards of this ordinance?”
About 100 supporters wearing red shirts
attended the meeting.
Vance Jochim, a conservative blogger,
testified against the registry, saying the measure would make the
city known as a gay-friendly community.
Councilman Norman Hope said the
ordinance was important because Tavares is home to the county's jail
and main hospital.
Several large Florida cities, including
Orlando and Miami, have set up such registries.