by Alan McBride
ORLANDO, FLA. -- Orange County passed a domestic partnership ordinance during a county commission meeting Tuesday.
The ordinance, among other things, grants a countywide recognition of a domestic partnership ordinance that was passed recently by the city of Orlando.
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs drafted the county ordinance, which has provisions that will create a county-wide domestic partnership registry.
The Orange County plan recognizes the Orlando registry, but also adds a provision for a "support person," whom any county citizen may designate ... whether that person lives with the citizen or not.
The registry, for gay couples or heterosexual domestic partners, has the relationships recognized countywide and provides access to enforceable and vital protections anywhere within the county.
Orange County's ordinance was passed four days after Volusia County became the first in the central Florida area to create such a registry.
The Orange County ordinance has stronger legal protections, however; it takes effect July 6.
Orlando was the first Florida city to start a domestic partner registry.
Since then, many other cities in the Sunshine State have begun writing similar ordinances, with Orlando serving as the template.