ACLU’s Northeast Florida Regional Office fought hard for ordinance’s passage; domestic partnership registry makes critical protections available to all couples in Pensacola

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 15, 2013
CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office, (786) 363 - 2737

PENSACOLA - Last night, the Pensacola City Council voted 7-1 in favor of an ordinance creating a domestic partnership registry (DPR) in the city, making it the most recent in a growing list of Florida cities and counties to do so. The ordinance, authored by Councilmember Larry B. Johnson, passed at a council meeting for which around 300 supporters of the ordinance turned out to city hall.

The domestic partnership registry, which the proposed ordinance would create, provides certain essential legal protections for couples in Pensacola who are not or cannot get married under current law. This includes legal protections for their loved ones in situations like financial planning and medical emergencies. The protections which a DPR provides are not limited to same-sex couples – these protections would be accessible to everyone in the city who needs them, including cohabiting seniors.

The ACLU of Florida has been working for months with local organizations, business leaders, faith leaders and other groups to build support for the ordinance.

The following statement on the DPR’s passage may be attributed to Sara Latshaw, Northwest Florida Regional Director of the ACLU of Florida, who spoke at the meeting:

“This is a tremendous win for our hometown and is the culmination of over a year of hard work from countless individuals in the community to make these important protections available to everyone in our city.”

“The domestic partnership registry will mean that all couples in our city will have access to important protections that many of us take for granted. It will make it easy for all couples – regardless of gender – to have the tools and security they need to take care of one another in emergencies and to build a life together.”

“As domestic partnership registries have been sweeping across the state, many in our city wondered when it would be our turn to take this important step. The overwhelming show of support last night from both people in the community and the members of the city council proved that we are a city welcoming to everyone. We would like to thank Councilman Johnson and the members of the city council for having the courage to take this important step forward for fairness in Pensacola, and we are grateful for all the people throughout Pensacola who fought hard to make this day possible.”

Following yesterday’s passage on first reading, the ordinance will be up for a second and final vote at the next city council meeting.