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Florida Lawmakers Introduce Domestic Partnerships Bill

Florida Lawmakers Introduce Domestic Partnerships Bill

 

Florida Representative Mark Pafford  (D-West Palm Beach) this week introduced House Bill 139, legislation designed to give unmarried same-sex and opposite-sex couples the same rights and responsibilities as marriage. State Senator Eleanor Sobel, (D-Hollywood), also introduced a counterpart measure in the state Senate.

Following the bill’s introduction Pafford released a statement in which he said that to remain competitive in the jobs market Florida must consider giving the full range of rights to those who are unmarried:

“It is only sensible that we do all we can to attract and retain the best and brightest to work in Florida and to grow businesses here,” said Representative Pafford. “By recognizing domestic partnerships, we will take a leap forward in improving our economy and the manner in which our residents are treated. It makes good economic sense, it is sound personnel policy, and it is the right thing to do.”

Nearly 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies and a majority of Florida’s universities offer domestic partner benefits in order to attract and retain the best and brightest employees. The Domestic Partnerships Act would grant individuals in a domestic partnership the same benefits and responsibilities currently available through marriage.

LGBT rights groups in the state have praised this move as a positive first step toward, with Florida Equality saying:

Florida currently ranks 7th in the nation, with 6.7 million people living in communities that recognize domestic partnerships. Rep. Pafford’s bill would make these protections and responsibilities available to all couples statewide.

[...]

“Equality Florida is proud to work with Rep. Pafford and Sen. Sobel to provide these important protections to Florida’s domestic partners, gay and straight,” said Mallory Wells, public policy director for Equality Florida. “Equality Florida has also been working with municipalities across the state, as well as private employers, including Pepsico, Citi Bank, BlueCross BlueShield of Florida and Wells Fargo, who offer domestic partner benefits because they recognize that workplace inequities create obstacles to attracting and retaining top talent.”

The Domestic Partnerships Act would grant individuals in a domestic partnership the same benefits and responsibilities currently available through marriage.

The Senate version of the bill, SB 166, is sponsored by Senator Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood). “I’m proud to have filed this bill over the past three years to draw attention to disparities in the workplace.

Equality Florida has done a remarkable job getting these provisions approved in places like Ft. Lauderdale; St. Cloud; Tallahassee; Miami-Dade and Orange counties. Now it is time to ensure this basic fairness all across our state.”

The legislation may face a frosty reception in the Florida Legislature where a recent attempt to pass a sexual orientation-inclusive workplace nondiscrimination bill was stonewalled and the legislation never even put on a state committee agenda. Advocates however remain quietly optimistic that progress can be made.

 

Related Reading:

Florida’s GOP Senate Candidates Say No To Gay Marriage

ACLU Settles Miami Wrongful Arrest Suit

Transgender Student Voted Prom Queen in Florida

 

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Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to Made Underground.

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21 comments

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12:38PM PDT on Sep 23, 2011

Juanita, please take your bible & your hate and shove them where the sun don't shine. That is all.

12:35PM PDT on Sep 23, 2011

Juanita: First of all, stop screaming! Typing in block letters means you are screaming. Not very polite.
Secondly, I didn't read all your ramblings because of the block letters, but from what I managed to read before my eyes got sore, revealed that you must be very lonely. This hate you show towards LGBT must be very consuming and repells people from getting near you. Feel sorry for you and offer you this advice: Go and get a life, find someone to care for and try and experience love, firsthand. Then you may change your ways and won't be so lonely anymore. As a bonus, you will get to know people that love eachother so much that they are willing to marry. If they only could.

8:05AM PDT on Sep 19, 2011

Juanita, your hysterical rants might sound great in church but they don't hold up well in the real world where you obviously don't know the first thing about "gay."

8:02AM PDT on Sep 19, 2011

Forget domestic partnerships, let them get married!!

7:14AM PDT on Sep 19, 2011

I hope it passes.

7:12AM PDT on Sep 19, 2011

Interesting.

9:25AM PDT on Sep 18, 2011

Jaunita,
I would just like to let you know that MY PARENTS are lebian and they have raised me to be a very caring and loving person UNLIKE people like you. And I say if your religion tells you to hate against a certain group of people then get a new religion. And since same sex partners aren't reconized where I live what would happen if my mom died? My other parent is seen as another parent in the eyes of the law so she could not take care of me. Even thogh she has raised me her whole life? Does THAT sound right to you? And I am bisexual, and no it has NOTHING to do with the fact that my parents are gay, I hate it when people think that it is completely unrelated. So I want to have the right to marry whoever it is I fall in love whether a man or a women. Is that such a horrible thing?
Oh and by the way I saw you don't have any friends. I'm not suprised.

2:53AM PDT on Sep 18, 2011

Thanks for the article.

3:55PM PDT on Sep 17, 2011

@ Juanita G....You are so wrong about everything you said. I wish nothing but the worst for you. There is a thing in this life called Karma and trust me darling You Will Pay.

2:50PM PDT on Sep 17, 2011

fOR THOSE WHO ALREADY ARE IN A SAME SEX RELATIONSHIP, WE SHOULD BE TRYING TO LOVINGLY SHOW THEM HOW VERY WRONG THEY ARE- FROM THE HOLY SCRIPTURES WHICH THIS COUNTRY WAS BUILT ON. AS FOR RIGHTS, NO ONE SHOULD BE DENIED THE RIGHT TO LIVE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. I AGREE WITH THAT. BUT LIVING IN SAME SEX RELATIONSHIP DOES NOT BRING HAPPINESS. THEY ONLY THINK IT DOES BECAUSE THEY ARE LOOKING THROUGH THE EYES OF FLESH, NOT THROUGH THE EYES OF GOD-WHICH WE ARE SUPPOSED TO LOOK THROUGH. IF OUR PEOPLE IN AUTHORUTY LEGALIZE THIS, THEN THEY ARE WRONG AND NEED TO BE TAKEN DOWN.

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