Moments ago, the Florida Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs announced will hear the "Families First" bill by Senator Sobel on Feb. 19. Families First, SB 196, would create a statewide domestic partnership registry for the state of Florida. The bill would allow unmarried couples (same-sex and opposite sex couples) to register to receive all of the rights and responsibilities the state of Florida affords married couples. This includes hospital visitation, correctional facility visitation, end of life decision making, burial arrangements, and educational decision making powers for a domestic partner's child. It does not apply to any federal benefits such as Social Security or for the purposes of taxes, and does not apply outside the state of Florida.
A majority of Floridians already live in a local community that has domestic partnership registry. Places like Pinellas County, Volusia County, Orange County, Broward County, Miami Dade County, Key West, Tampa, Orlando, Gainesville, Tavares, Clearwater and North Miami all already have registries. The Families First bill will eliminate the patchwork of policies and allow people to have important legal protections for their family, no matter where they live.
"Equality Florida is proud to have worked with Senator Eleanor Sobel to introduce this important bill," said Mallory Wells, Public Policy Director for Equality Florida. "The historic hearing on Feb. 19 will mark the first time the Florida legislature will discuss legal recognition of same-sex couples and nonmarried opposite sex couples.
Stay tuned for how you can help pass the Families First bill.
Media Inquiries should be directed to Mallory Wells, Public Policy Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.