For Immediate Release
June 8, 2012
For More Information:
John Ivanic, (614) 645-6798
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Mayor Coleman, Council President Ginther, Councilmember Klein Propose Domestic Partners Registry for City of Columbus
(Columbus)—Reaffirming their commitments to make Columbus the most inclusive and open city possible, Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman, City Council President Andrew J. Ginther and Development Committee Chair Councilmember Zach M. Klein announced a proposal that would establish a domestic partners registry. The voluntary registry, to be administered by the City Clerk, would allow unmarried couples regardless of sexual orientation to formally register their relationship, and ease access to certain basic rights.
“Columbus should offer an option for all our residents to have their committed relationships formally recognized and dignified,” Mayor Coleman said. “This proposed registry would increase access to basic rights such as hospital visitation and health insurance.”
A registry for unmarried couples would remove the administrative burden on businesses and public institutions to define and certify the existence a relationship. Verification is needed for matters such as health insurance, hospital visitation rights and authorization to pick up children after school.
“The creation of the Domestic Partners Registry underscores City Council’s belief that all residents should be treated fairly in the eyes of City government,” said Councilmember Klein. “It is an important next step that reaffirms our commitment to civil rights and equality.”
To register, an unmarried couple would have to complete and file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership and meet the same requirements that currently exist to qualify for the City’s eligible dependent benefits. In November 2010, Columbus City Council approved the extension of employee benefits to certain eligible dependents including unmarried couples. Those wishing to document their committed relationship as a matter of record must meet the following requirements:
• Is not currently married to or legally separated from another person either under statutory or common law; and
• Share responsibility for each other’s common welfare; and
• Is at least 18 years of age and mentally competent to consent to contract; and
• Is financially interdependent, as demonstrated by a signed declaration of financial interdependence
The unmarried couple would not have to be a resident of Columbus, and a reasonable fee per registration would be established to cover the associated administrative costs.
“The city and other major central Ohio public and private employers already extend certain basic rights and benefits to all their employees, and the proposed registry will help ensure that all Columbus residents enjoy those same rights,” said Council President Ginther. “It’s the right thing to do, and supports our efforts to make Columbus as welcoming, inclusive and competitive as possible.”
Councilmember Klein and Council President Ginther hope to pass an ordinance to establish the Domestic Partner Registry prior to Council’s August recess.