Florida Domestic Partnership Registry Advances in 5-4 Vote

Florida's Senate Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs passed the “Families First” bill (SB 196) yesterday in a 5-4 vote, moving a step closer to a statewide domestic parnership registry.

FloridaThe DPR would provide essential legal protections for unmarried couples, including hospital visitation, correctional facility visitation, end of life decision-making and burial arrangements, according to Equality Florida:

A majority of Floridians already live in a local community that has a domestic partnership registry. Pinellas County, Volusia County, Orange County, Broward County, Miami-Dade County, Key West, Tampa, Orlando, Gainesville, Tavares, Clearwater and North Miami already have registries. The Families First bill would eliminate the patchwork of policies and allow people to have important legal protections for their family, no matter where they live in the state.

"The bill passed with support from both Democrats and Republicans together with bipartisan sponsorship of the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, signaling a new day in Florida," said Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida. "This is a reflection of the change in public opinion favoring legal equality for all Florida couples. Our political leaders are finally listening to the pain inflicted on couples who are treated as legal strangers. And they are listening to the growing voice of business leaders who are calling for statewide protections that will help them attract and retain a diverse workforce."

Local Domestic Partnership Registries now protect roughly 50% of Florida's population. The protections are vital, especially since the state has a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality.

Senator Eleanor Sobel (D) has championed this bill and told her fellow committee members "Today we made history." The bill now moves on to the next committee.


  1. Nanuq says

    They surely do love to help us be together as long as we’re sick, dead, or in jail, don’t they.

    Less than civil unions, more than nothing at all. At the moment I’m in Gainesville, and it feels less hostile than the last time I was here two years ago.

    Headed home to legally equal Vermont.

  2. DB says

    Unfortunately, this law has no chance of passage in Florida’s overwhelmingly conservative and Republican legislature. Not a single Southern state has domestic partnerships or even a non-discrimination law. It is notable that not a single county or city in Northwest Florida and only one in Northeast Florida has a domestic partnership law. Only areas in Central and South Florida with large numbers of transplanted Yankees have such laws. In my hometown in the Panhandle, we do not consider anyone south of Ocala to be real Floridians.

  3. goldberg says

    equality florida again raises tons of money to market themselves as effective, yet they just pay their high salaries and Florida gets nowhere. year after year.

  4. Sam welsh says

    My domestic partner ( in Broward County)-and I are heartened that one committee has seen the light; however, we have little hope that the rest of this extremely homophobic state will be enlightened any time soon!