The City Council of Orlando, Fla., voted in favor of an ordinance Monday that recognizes same-sex domestic partnerships, giving same-sex couples some of the privileges already applied to those in traditional marriages.
The newly available domestic partnership registry option will give unmarried couples – heterosexual or gay – legal rights to visit a partner at a hospital, manage the partner’s funeral arrangements or participate in decisions regarding the partner’s child’s education. The new rules are only valid within the city of Orlando and start Jan. 12.
The registry makes available an overview of protections provided within the domestic partnership, Cassandra Lafser Public Information Officer at City of Orlando, told The Christian Post Tuesday.
"Once same-sex couples register for this, these protections would help include hospital visitations, rights to healthcare decisions, correctional facility visitations, rights to funeral burial decisions, guardianship and the right for both domestic partners to participate in education of their children," Lafser said.
"This is an historic event for Orlando, and it is a monumentally important event for our community. It will be the first time in our lives that our families are recognized by our government," attorney Mary Meeks, who helped push for the registry, told Orlando Sentinel Monday. "At least here in Orlando, our relationships are recognized as real, and they are valued and they are accepted."
However, Mathew D. Staver, Esq., founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, an international non-profit supporting "religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family," told CP Tuesday that same-sex couples in Orlando are still far from overcoming the ban on gay marriage, which was constitutionally banned in the entire state Nov. 6, 2008.
The Constitution of the State of Florida states: "Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized."
"I think it’s outrageous that the ordinance has passed in Orlando and I think it’s a shame to the city, because it is an advocacy piece that absolutely accomplishes nothing but promotion of the homosexual agenda," Staver said.
The ordinance is a political statement that suggests some Orlando politicians are possibly aiming to challenge traditional marriage, Staver suggested.
A poll conducted with Florida residents by Public Policy Polling published Oct. 5 shows that the level of opposition to same-sex marriage was at 48 percent at the time, down from 53 percent in June.