By Winston Gieseke
Originally published on Advocate.com December 26 2011 7:15 PM ET
The City Clerk’s Office in Orlando, Florida, is expected to receive a rush of gay couples next month when the city’s new domestic-partnership registry goes into effect.
The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that all 16 available appointments for January 12, the day the registry officially opens, have already been booked.
"I think there's going to be incredible interest," Equality Florida field director Joe Saunders said. "We're going to see a big surge in the beginning."
Orlando became the first city in Central Florida to recognize the relationships of same-sex couples when it unanimously approved a domestic-partnership registry earlier this month. And while the registry won’t provide the legal benefits of a civil union or a marriage, it will allow registered partners hospital visitation, healthcare decision-making privileges, and the right to make funeral arrangements at institutions within Orlando city limits.
"It's not as many rights as marriage, but it helps couples during very difficult times," said Orlando Commissioner Patty Sheehan, who pushed for the law and who, along with partyer Jocelynn White, is slated to be an early signer of the registry.
The registry is also open to opposite-sex couples.
Read more here.