SB 196, by Sen. Eleanor Sobel, passes first committee on 5-4 vote; would create statewide domestic partner registry open to gay and straight couples

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:           April 1, 2013
CONTACT:                                           ACLU of Florida Media Office, media@aclufl.org, (786) 363-2737

Today, the Florida Senate’s Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs voted 5-4 in favor of the “Families First” bill, SB 196, by Sen. Eleanor Sobel. The favorable vote for the bill, which would create a statewide domestic partner registry open to same-sex and opposite-sex couples, marks the first time a Florida legislative committee has favorably passed a bill opening these protections to same-sex couples.

The following statement may be attributed to Daniel Tilley, ACLU of Florida LGBT Policy Strategist:

“Earlier this afternoon, the Florida Senate’s Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs took the historic step of passing SB 196, the Families First bill, sponsored by Senator Eleanor Sobel. This bill would create a statewide domestic-partnership registry (DPR), providing limited but important protections and responsibilities to all of Florida’s committed couples, gay and straight alike.

“Although the bundle of benefits is small, these protections are among the most important a couple can have. Because a discriminatory section of Florida’s constitution forbids same-sex couples from marrying, there is literally no other way for such couples to obtain some of these protections. More and more localities across the state are creating DPRs at the local level, but a statewide effort like the one the Families First bill creates, would do much more to strengthen Florida’s families. We applaud Senator Sobel for shepherding this bill through its first committee, an important step forward for equality and fairness in Florida.”

# # #