Monday, December 8, 2008

Domestic partnership registry in Cleveland

Establishing a domestic partnership registry in Cleveland is a great idea - editorial

Creating a domestic-partnership registry in Cleveland will hardly undo the symbolic and human damage that Ohio voters inflicted on the state when they passed a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in 2004 - but it would be a start.

By approving a registry that will give both same-sex and opposite-sex couples documentation they can use to navigate public and private bureaucracies, Cleveland can declare that tolerance and openness are qualities that define this community. Given the importance of creativity in the modern knowledge economy, such a welcoming message has never been more important for a city and a region.

A registry is not - no matter what some critics may say - a circuitous way to enact civil unions; it is certainly not a de facto form of same-sex marriage. It is a recognition that couples - heterosexual and homosexual alike - have complex relationships that on a human level deserve acknowledgement and on a legal one may require some type of proof in order to receive benefits or even hospital visitation privileges.

Cleveland Heights voters created such a registry in 2003. It passed legal muster and now includes some 200 couples - a quarter of them opposite-sex pairs. There has been no apparent downside to the voters' decision; indeed, Mayor Ed Kelley calls the registry a point of civic pride.

Cleveland City Council may vote as early as today to establish a registry. It would be the 77th in the country and the third in Ohio. In tandem with a ban on discrimination against transgender people that also may come before the council soon, this legislation will establish Cleveland as a city that welcomes everyone.

Cleveland is a cool place but they are doing it for one thing, the Gay Olympics.Yes it's all about the money.

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