Advocate Pushes for Domestic Partnership Registries in Southwest Florida

Jul 25, 2014

Credit Brian Turner/Flickr

 A former Sarasota City commissioner is working his way down Southwest Florida pushing for cities and counties to pass domestic partnership registries.

The registries would allow same-sex couples certain protections under the law.

Since the city of Sarasota adopted Ken Shelin’s proposal for a domestic partnership registry in 2012, the ordinance has also been picked up in Sarasota County, and the cities of North Port, Venice and Punta Gorda.

Shelin will make his case to the city of Cape Coral on Monday. The push for domestic partnership registries is part of a state-wide effort.

The ordinance gives partners a say in – among other things – health care decisions, end of life decision-making and correctional facility visitation rights.

Shelin said what is granted under the ordinance has played a role in his own life.

“My partner for example was very, very sick several years ago and was not in a position to make decisions for himself because he was on a ventilator in intensive care,” he said. “He wasn’t even conscious so I had to make decisions for him. I wouldn’t have been able to do that otherwise.”

Shelin said 250 couples have registered since the city of Sarasota passed the ordinance.

Shelin has also reached out to Lee County and the city of Fort Myers.