According to the Miami Herald, 26 couples (24 same-sex and 2 heterosexual) braved Tropical Storm Fay's pounding rain to register on the first day of Miami-Dade County's Domestic Partnership registry. The storm forced the office to close at noon (and it will be closed again today), but that didn't stop the couples from signing up for the limited rights the registry provides- like hospital visitation. Mindy McNichols, an attorney for the Miami-Dade school district, registered Monday morning with Ann Harrington, her partner of 18 years:
This is a step in the right direction toward recognizing our relationship.
Couples that register receive a certificate and laminated identification cards, which would they hoped would eliminate the problems of trying to constantly have complex legal documents during emergencies on hand. As Juan Talavera, chairman of SAVE Dade, and his partner Jeff Ronci said:
I no longer have to run home in a moment of crisis to find a piece of paper.
Having registered with my partner in Broward County, I can say that the process is not at all the romantic, special experience that a wedding day can be. After all, we've done both- we registered as domestic partners in Broward (the most recognition we can get in this state) and recently married in California. Registering as domestic partners is much like signing up to get permit to fix your house or getting a driver's license- you go, give them you information and leave. Domestic Partnership registries are a step in the right direction, but still obviously lacking and unequal to the rights and recognition marriage provides.
But don't tell that to the fundies, like Anthony Verdugo, executive director of the Christian Family Coalition:
A quasi-homosexual-marriage structure is being imposed on the people of Dade County.
The only thing true that came out of Verdugo's bigoted mouth is that the structure is "quasi marriage." Couples still don't get the rights they need or deserve to care for one another or their families. They exist in the separate AND UNEQUAL state of being "domestic partnered", not married.
Even that status is being threatened, however. The broad and dangerous language of Amendment 2 in November, which says anything that is the "substantial equivalent" of marriage cannot be recognized, will repeal even the limited rights conferred by the registry.
So congratulations to all the couples who became domestic partners on Monday. While imperfect, it is a step in the right direction in our too-often conservative state. Now let's make sure we all roll our sleeves up and work hard to defeat Amendment 2 so we don't lose the limited rights we have worked so hard to gain.