"We are excited to be the first government in Central Florida to establish a Domestic Partnership Registry and to take the important step of giving same-sex couples some of the same, basic rights that other couples in committed relationships have," Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer writes on the city's new Domestic Partner Registry site. Beginning January 12, 2012, gay and straight couples living together can register for domestic partnerships and get many of the same rights of marriage. But, before you drive over to City Hall, make sure you've followed these steps:
Time Required: Varies
- First, let's start with the basics. In order to register you and your partner must be at least 18-years-old and not already married. You also cannot be blood relatives. The city also expects you to live with your partner in order to register.
- Next, map your location. You can apply at any of the Orange County Clerk's offices. Both you and your partner must show up at City Hall in person and sign the City’s Domestic Partnership Registry Affidavit.
- The Clerk's Office will help you fill out the City’s Domestic Partnership Registry Affidavit. Here's a sample.
- Bring a photo ID, such as your driver's license or Class 1 ID and $30 in cash or check.
- For your registration fee, you get a registration certificate and two wallet sized cards for proof of partnership.
- If later you and your partner decide to dissolve the partnership, $10 and a signature on the Termination of Domestic Partnership Affidavit will take your names off the books.
- But, you're in it to win it, so let's talk about what benefits you get after registering. According to the City of Orlando County Clerk, registered domestic partners within the city limits are given the following rights:
- a) Health Care Facility Visitation. All health care facilities operating within the City of Orlando shall honor the registered Domestic Partnership documentation issued pursuant to this code as evidence of the relationship and shall allow a Registered Domestic Partner visitation as provided under federal law. A Dependent of a Registered Domestic Partner shall have the same visitation rights as a patient’s child.
- (b) Health Care Decisions. This section pertains to decisions concerning both physical and mental health. Registry as a Domestic Partner shall be considered to be written direction by each partner designating the other to make health care decisions for their incapacitated partner, and shall authorize each partner to act as the other’s healthcare surrogate as provided in Chapter 765, Florida Statutes, and otherwise as provided by federal law. Further, no person designated as a health care surrogate shall be denied or otherwise defeated in serving as a health care surrogate based solely upon his or her status as the domestic partner of the partner on whose behalf health care decisions are to be made. Upon request, the City Clerk shall also assist the registrants by providing them with any desired statutory forms such as living wills or health care surrogate designation in the forms prescribed by Chapter 765, Florida Statutes. The City Clerk shall not give advice relating to these forms, but shall simply assist by providing and, if necessary, notarizing the forms upon request. Any such forms properly executed after the date of registration which contain conflicting designations shall control over the designations by virtue of the registration.
- (c) Funeral/burial Decisions. Registry as a domestic partner shall be considered to be written direction by the decedent of his or her intention to have his or her domestic partner direct the disposition of the decedent’s body for funeral and burial purposes as provided in Chapter 497, Florida Statutes, unless the decedent provides conflicting, written inter vivos authorization and directions that are dated after the date of the registration, in which case the later dated authorization and directions shall control.
- (d) Correctional Facility Visitation Rights. Any person who is a party to a registered domestic partnership relationship, pursuant to Section 57.81, shall be entitled to visit his or her domestic partner, or other family member of the domestic partner, who is an inmate at a correctional facility located within the City of Orlando, upon the same terms and conditions under which visitation is afforded to spouses, dependents, or parents of inmates. Visitation rights provided by this section shall extend to any children of the domestic partners, and the domestic partners of an inmate’s parents or children.
- (e) Notification of Family Members. In any situation providing for mandatory or permissible notification of family members, including but not limited to notification of family members in an emergency, or when permission is granted to correctional facility inmates to contact family members, “notification of family” shall include registered Domestic Partners.
- (f) Preneed guardian designation. A person who is a party to a registered Domestic Partnership relationship shall have the same right as any other individual to be designated as a preneed guardian pursuant to Chapter 744, Florida Statutes and to serve in such capacity in the event of his or her Domestic Partner’s incapacity. A Domestic Partner shall not be denied or otherwise be defeated in serving as the plenary guardian or his or her Domestic Partner or the partner’s property under the provisions of Chapter 744, Florida Statutes, to the extent that the incapacitated partner has not executed a valid preneed guardian designation, based solely upon his or her status as the Domestic Partner of the incapacitated partner.
- (g) Participation in Education. To the extent allowed by federal and state law, a registered Domestic Partner shall have the same rights to participate in the education of a dependent of the registered Domestic Partnership as a biological parent to participate in the education of their child, in all educational facilities located within or under the jurisdiction of the City. However, if a biological parent of a minor dependent, whose parental rights have not been terminated, objects to the participation of a non- biological registered Domestic Partner in education conferences or other dissemination of educational information, only the participation of the biological parents shall be allowed.
- For more information, visit the City of Orlando Domestic Partner Registry site.