Frequently Asked Questions
To answer this question, you must first know the definition of domestic partners. The legal definition of domestic partners, according to the City of Gulfport, Florida is: “couples who are parties to a valid domestic partnership relationship and who meet the requisites for a valid domestic partnership relationship”. While this legal language appears consistent with other DPR ordinances, the language is ambiguous. Gaining a clearer understanding of the meaning of domestic partner requires a review of the “requisites” referred to in the legal definition. A review of ordinances across the United States shows most contains the identical following language:
- Each person is at least eighteen years old and competent to contract.
- Neither person is currently married under applicable state law or is a partner in a domestic relationship or a member of a civil union with anyone other than the co-applicant.
- The applicants are not related by blood as defined by applicable state law.
- Each person considers himself or herself to be a member of the immediate family of the other partner and to be jointly responsible for maintaining and supporting the registered domestic partnership.
Answer: No. Once a DPR is passed it applies to all unmarried residents who meet the criteria.
Answer: Any couple who is prohibited by law from marrying or chooses not to marry is entitled to the provisions set forth in the DPR.
Answer: Many seniors who have lost their spouse chose not to remarry even though they have become involved in a relationship with someone else. Some do not mary because they feel it would be a betrayal of the memory of their former spouse, and others because they do not want to have their property, affected by community property laws. Still others, receiving social security benefits as a result of the death of their spouse, would lose those benefits if they were to remarry. Having a DPR allows these couples to continue their committed relationship and have some of the benefits they would enjoy if they married.
Answer: NO. The DPR only provides a few basic rights for couples, such as hospital visitation, health care decisions and next of kin recognition.
Answer: No. The benefits provided by a Domestic Partner Registry pertain only to the jurisdiction the ordinance covers. For example: If you live in Gulfport, Florida and are registered on their DPR and you are on vacation in New Orleans where there is no DPR, your benefit would not apply there. In other words, you could be denied hospital visitation with your partner. However, if you were to visit any city in the state of California your DPR benefits would travel with you because they have a DPR which covers the entire state and there is reciprocity language in their DPR law.
My city has a DPR and I am have been denied the right to hospital visitation with my registered partner. What should I do?
Answer: If this happened you should first make sure the hospital administration knows you are the registered domestic partner. Some communities provide cards to keep in their wallet for residents who register. If you provide this information to the hospital and you are still denied, you should contact your local Human Rights Campaign office or the local chapter of the ACLU. They can assist you in securing the recognition as the domestic partner. Additionally, if necessary the ACLU legal department can assess if they are able to secure inductive relief which is a court order to allow you into the hospital room. You may also be able to sue for damages, but this is not a guarantee. Each jurisdiction has a different charter and that would include language which spells out what relief an offended party may seek.
Answer: Yes. There is no list, however, that can be obtained including all the names of domestic partners registered for a municipality. The same rules apply to DPRs as do marriage licenses, as they are maintained in the same manner.
Answer: Yes. In an Executive Memorandum to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on April 15, 2010, President Obama directed hospital visitation must be granted to same sex couples in domestic partnerships.
Answer: Yes. Unfortunately, it is still advisable to obtain these documents since neither the ordinance or the POA/HCD provides all rights.