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News Story
Updated: 11/24/2013 12:10:18PM

North Port to decide on domestic partner registry

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By DREW WINCHESTER

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NORTH PORT — A proposed domestic partner registry ordinance, which North Port city commissioners will vote on at their 6 p.m. meeting Monday, differs slightly from a similar ordinance approved by Sarasota County commissioners earlier this month.

The ordinance would give nonmarried gay or heterosexual couples who live together in the city some of the same rights enjoyed by married couples, like to declare each other as their health-care surrogate and make end-of-life and funeral decisions. North Port’s proposed ordinance grants more rights to domestic partners for health and child care, according to city documents. The county’s ordinance does not address health-care facility visitation rights of the partnership’s “dependent.” North Port’s ordinance, meanwhile, allows for the dependent to be treated the same as the patient’s child. Regarding education, the county’s ordinance does not allow for a domestic partner to participate in the education of their partner’s child; in North Port, if the ordinance is approved, the partner may participate as long as the child’s biological parent does not object. North Port City Commissioner Rhonda DiFranco, who brought the prospect of approving the ordinance back after commissioners initially shot it down, said she had reviewed the language of the ordinance and generally approved of what she read. City commissioners, in part, denied the ordinance previously because they feared the potential litigation and legal complications the ordinance could bring on the city.

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