Columbia City Council Passes Domestic Partnership Registry

Good news from Columbia, Missouri! In an important win for equality
a Domestic Partnership Registry was passed unanimously by the City
Council of Columbia last night.The Family Equality Council is
proud to have worked with PROMO and other local lobbyists in
framing and lobbying for the ordinance. Below is the press release


PROMO Applauds Columbia City Council for
Establishing Inclusive Domestic Partner Registry

April 6, 2009
(Columbia, MO) – PROMO praised this evening’s decision by the
Columbia City Council to establish a domestic partner registry.
According to the ordinance, “‘Domestic partners’ means two adults
who share the same principal residence, and are jointly responsible
for the basic necessities of life.”

The affirmative vote comes after months of lobbying by local
advocates working in concert with PROMO and capped an evening of
testimony by Columbia citizens on the need for such a registry. The
ordinance would be open to any couple who have resided together for
at least six months, intend to reside with one another and share
the common necessities of life, and are each 18 years of age or
older. The registry is open to persons regardless of whether the
couples are opposite-sex or same-sex. In Columbia, the domestic
partner registry will allow domestic partners and their minor
dependents to use and access Columbia City facilities with the same
rights and privileges accorded to spouses and children and may be
used as proof of relationship status for employer benefit plans and
for hospital and nursing home visitation policies.

The decision makes Columbia the fourth jurisdiction in the state of
Missouri, after St. Louis City, Kansas City, and Jackson County, to
establish a domestic partner registry.

A.J. Bockelman, Executive Director of PROMO, Missouri’s statewide
organization advocating for equal rights for lesbian, gay,
bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons, said of the Columbia City
Council decision, “We at PROMO are very happy to have been part of
the months-long process of successfully making this ordinance a
reality, and we’re thrilled that Columbia has taken this important
step toward recognizing that families and relationships come in
many forms.”

Bockelman concluded by putting tonight’s vote in perspective.
“While I am gratified by the fair-minded decision of the Columbia
City Council, the significance of its passage just days after the
Iowa marriage equality decision cannot be ignored. Domestic
partnership is a significant first step, but it is just that: a
single step toward equality. There are 114 counties and hundreds of
cities in Missouri. Tonight we have domestic partnership registries
in one of those counties and three of those cities. One city, one
county, one person at a time, we are winning the hearts and minds
of Missourians. I am deeply encouraged by what happened tonight in
Columbia, and I’m more confident than ever that justice, fairness,
and equality will finally prevail, but I recognize that the fight
is far from over.”