St. Pete begins registering same-sex couples
Today is the first time same-sex couples can officially register in a domestic partner registry in St. Petersburg. The goal is to allow same-sex couples some of the same rights recognized for straight, married people. The registry, which is a public record, gives partners the right to visit each other in the hospital, make life-and-death decisions on each other's behalf and participate in the education of shared children. Registration will be held until 4 p.m. today, and then from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday at the city clerk's office at City Hall, 175 Fifth St. N.The ordinance was passed June 7. The city clerk is expecting high demand and recommends residents call for an appointment at (727) 893-7448. Due to conflicts with council meetings and agenda preparation, no registry appointments will be made Thursdays and Fridays. Both parties must be present at registration to get a domestic partnership certificate to process a registration affidavit, a legal document that will be notarized by city clerk's staff. Each person must also have a photo identification, which includes a driver's license, state-issued ID, passport or military ID. Initial registration is $30, payable in cash, check or money order. No credit or debit cards can be accepted. Applicants will get a copy of the registration affidavit —the original will be recorded with the Pinellas County Clerk of Court — two wallet cards and a certificate.