Thursday, January 18, 2007

Good news for all of Kansas: Lawrence domestic partner registry may be open to couples from anywhere

By Diane Silver

Lawrence city staff are using a Cleveland Heights, Ohio, ordinance as a model for the Kansas town's proposed domestic partner registry.

If City Commissioners adopt all of the Cleveland Heights plan, then same-sex couples from any town in Kansas, or the rest of the nation, will be able to register as domestic partners in Lawrence. This is good news for couples outside of Lawrence who want access to their employer's domestic partner benefits or proof of their relationship for other purposes.

Word on the plan's details came yesterday from Maggie Childs, president of the Lawrence Chapter of The Kansas Equality Coalition.

The Cleveland Heights plan has survived a court challenge, which claimed the city exceeded its home rule authority. The plan also remains in effect despite Ohio's passage of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and civil unions.

To register as a domestic partner under this plan, a couple -- whether same-sex or heterosexual -- must pay a fee and:
  • share a common residence, agree to be in a relationship of mutual interdependence,
  • not be married to a third individual or a member of a civil union or domestic partnership with a third individual,
  • be 18 years of age or older,
  • not be related by blood in a way that would prevent them from being married to one another in this state, and
  • both sign the Declaration of Domestic Partnership form to be filed with the City.
Lawrence also plans to exempt registered domestic partners from the city's limit on the number of unrelated people who can live together in a rental unit.

More details on how Cleveland Heights runs its registry and examples of their forms are available on the city's web site.

Once the Lawrence proposal is drafted, it will be sent to Attorney General Paul Morrison for his review.

Stay tuned to In This Moment for updates. More of my coverage on the registry can be found here and here.

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