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Columbus Opens Domestic Partner Registry
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The City of Columbus on Wednesday opened a domestic partner registry. It does not carry the same weight as a marriage certificate, but it allows unmarried and gay couples to notarize and put their relationship on the record.
As the registry opened at City Hall a handful of same-sex couples stepped forward to get a city-backed certificate that states the couple is financially inter-dependent and each individual is 18, mentally competent and not legally married to another person. Ron Templin and his partner Bill LaFayette were among the handful of couples to take advantage of the new registry.
“For me it means a baby step. In other words, it’s not full equality but it’s a step in the right direction.” Says Templin.
The city registry does nothing to change the legal status of same sex relationships. Terry Brown and his partner Joel Bradley got married in Iowa three years ago. Even though Ohio and the new registry does not recognize the marriage, Brown says it will have practical benefits.
“When I applied for domestic partner health care benefits for my partner Joel, I had to provide a stack of documentation, and a notarized statement saying we were in a committed monogamous relationship. Now, simply being on the registry will allow us to do that.” Says Brown.
Mayor Michael Coleman adds that the city registry will remove what he called an “administrative burden” from businesses and public institutions to define and certify the existence of a relationship. For Linda Schuler and Carla Rothan the new registry also has symbolic significance.
“We’ve been together for 16 years and even though this is a very practical thing to do for us, it’s a symbolic thing as well because we’ve never been able to do that in the city that we live in.” Says Carla Rothan
Columbus’s gay population is estimated at 35,000 or about 4.7 percent of the city’s population. Columbus is the 7th Ohio city to offer a domestic partner registry.