Orlando became the first city in Central Florida to recognize the relationships of same-sex couples when it approved a domestic-partnership registry Monday.
The City Council voted unanimously to enact the registry, which will be open to gay and straight couples starting January 12. Couples, including vacationers from out of town, can record their relationship in a government database for a $30 fee. Appointments will be scheduled for as soon as this Tuesday.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, "Registered couples then would have a few of the same rights that married people take for granted: the ability to visit one another in the hospital or jail, to make health care decisions for an incapacitated partner and to make funeral plans." The rights would apply only to institutions within Orlando city limits.
Mayor Buddy Dyer hailed the approval of the registry, and Commissioner Patty Sheehan said she plans to register with her partner. Some opponents charged the registry violates the voter-approved state constitutional amendment, passed in 2008, that bans same-sex marriage and similar unions.