Over 1800 people have signed up for the Domestic Partner Registry in Minneapolis over the past four years, and now many people eagerly await St. Paul’s decision on implementing a Domestic Partner Registry.
The St. Paul City Council held a hearing on July 15 to discuss implementing the registry citywide, and the official vote will take place July 22.
The registry gives unwed couples a certificate making it easier for their partner to receive benefits, such as health insurance and hospital visitation, and also acts a bold step in the struggle for same-sex couples’ rights, said Monica Meyer, the Public Policy Director for Outfront Minnesota, an organization whose slogan is, “Leading Minnesota toward GBLT equality.”
In Minneapolis, a registry has been active for nearly four years, and Duluth recently passed an ordinance creating one in their city.
The Wednesday afternoon hearing began with a chance for persons against the ordinance to speak, to which no one responded.
“It was a very tame and supportive hearing,” Meyer said in an email.
One the other side, though, many supporters were eager to take the stand and share their own experience with the Minneapolis Domestic Partner Registry or their support for implementing one in St. Paul.
Chris Dolan was the first supporter to speak at the hearing, and offered support of the registry’s symbolic value.
“We wanted our community to recognize us as a family, to recognize what we contribute as a couple to society,” Dolan said at the hearing, explaining one of the reasons he and his partner chose to join the registry.
Meyer shared similar opinions.
“(The importance of the registry is) mostly symbolic but it is still really important to say to same sex families, ‘We respect you, we want to treat you with dignity,” Meyer said.
And while the registration is not a perfect way to eliminate discrimination towards same-sex couples statewide, Meyer said it’s a great step in the right direction because it gives couples a way to legally prove they share a responsibility for each other equal to that of a married couples commitment.
“(Same-sex couples) live in the community, raise children and deserve all the support they can get,” she said. “Ideally, we are working to get marriage equality in Minnesota.”
Lyssa Beyer is a freelance writer in the Twin Cities.
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