Proposed ordinance would provide vital emergency and financial protections for unmarried couples, including same-sex couples

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 13, 2013
CONTACT:  ACLU of Florida Media Office, (786) 363 - 2737

PENSACOLA - Tomorrow, Thursday November 14, the Pensacola City Council is scheduled to vote on an ordinance which would create a domestic partner registry in the City of Pensacola. The proposed ordinance, authored by Councilmember Larry B. Johnson, is similar to other domestic partner registry ordinances across the state of Florida and is supported by the ACLU of Florida and the Pensacola Alliance for Equality.

The domestic partner 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 domestic partner registry would provide are not limited to same-sex couples – these protections would be accessible to everyone in our city who needs them, including cohabiting seniors.

The following statement on the proposed ordinance may be attributed to Sara Latshaw, Northwest Florida Regional Director of the ACLU of Florida and member of the Pensacola Alliance for Equality:

“Pensacola is ready for a domestic partner registry of the kind which this ordinance would create. A domestic partner registry would mean that people in Pensacola would have access to important protections that many of us take for granted – the ability to make financial arrangement, medical decisions, and protections in emergencies with a loved one. It gives couples the tools and security to build a life together and protect their families. I’ve heard from people all across our community who recognize that the time is right for this, and we thank the council for taking it on.

“Our city is a place that prides itself on being a generous and welcoming place, but unfortunately, unless our laws are treating people fairly, we aren’t walking the walk. Opening up the protections which the domestic partner registry would allow would go a long way to fulfilling that idea and making everyone in our community, including LGBT people, feel like a welcome and respected part of our community.

“The city council’s vote is the culmination of the work of many people across the city who have spoken out about the need for a domestic partner registry. Many of those people will be at the council chamber, wearing red as a show of solidarity. Our city is on the precipice of making history by doing right by all of these families.”

The ordinance is on the agenda for the city council meeting on Thursday, November 14 at 5:30pm. More information for supporters wishing to attend is available here.

Sara Latshaw and members of the Pensacola Alliance for Equality will be present at the meeting and available to give comment to press.

# # #