Columbus on Wednesday became the sixth Ohio city to offer a domestic partner registry.

The registry recognizes gay and straight unmarried couples as domestic partners.

“This registry removes the administrative burden on the business and public institutions to define and certify the existence of a relationship,” Democratic Mayor Michael B. Coleman said in announcing the registry. “This confirms that and verifies that. And this verification is needed for matters such as health insurance, hospital visitation rights and authorization to pick up children after school.”

“This is a huge, symbolic moment for us, for our relationship and for the city that we love and we live in,” Lauren Kinsey, who was among the first couples to register with her partner Shannon Cross, told 10TV News.

Similar registries in Cleveland and Cleveland Heights have faced strong opposition. An effort to stop Cleveland's registry from taking effect failed. Cleveland Heights was unsuccessfully sued over its registry, which opponents said violated the spirit of Ohio's 2004 constitutional amendment banning the state from recognizing gay couples with marriage or civil unions.

Other Ohio cities with registries include Athens, Toledo and Dayton.

While the registries offer no guaranteed benefits whatsoever, employers could use them to administer domestic partner benefits.