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LGBT community wins domestic partner rule

Published Dec 20, 2008 8:30 AM

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community of Cleveland won a major victory with City Council’s passage of a domestic partner registry on Dec. 8.

The measure will allow same-sex couples, as well as unmarried heterosexual couples and other individuals who live with and depend on one another, to register with the City. Cleveland is the third Ohio city to pass such an ordinance, following Toledo and Cleveland Heights.

While this gain falls far short of marriage equality, being able to obtain written documentation of one’s committed relationship is a huge step forward. The registry is a challenge to the forces behind Proposition 8 in California, and to those who four years ago passed Issue One in Ohio. That state constitutional amendment, one of the worst in the country, not only bans same-sex marriage but also its “approximation.” At the time some feared its wording would be used against domestic-partner benefits won by state employee unions.

Over 200 LGBT community members and their supporters packed the City Council meeting where the 13-to-seven vote took place. Their joy was shared by Joe Santiago, the first openly gay person and second [email protected] to be elected to Council. The victory was greeted with sustained applause, prompting the Council president to rap the gavel and call for order.