Miami Beach, Fla., city commissioners have unanimously approved an expansive domestic-partnership registry, which will give couples rights to hospital visitations, health care decisions, and emergency medical notification.
The registry--which will begin in about 10 days--will be open to Miami Beach residents and visitors, heterosexual and same-sex couples. The city will also recognize couples who have registered in other states, participated in a civil union, or been married. "This is now the strongest domestic-partnership registry in our state, and it is a registry open to all people no matter where you live," said Stratton Pollitzer, the south Florida director of Equality Florida.
The registry offers about 12 benefits, including the power to make funeral decisions and the right to participate in the education of a partner's child. Federal marriage benefits number well over 1,000.
Miami Beach institutions affected by the ordinance said it was too soon to comment on how the registry will work. Broward County and Key West also offer domestic-partnership registries, though in more limited form. Earlier this month the Miami Beach commission approved expanding the city's human rights ordinance to ban discrimination against transgendered people.