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Pensacola joins other Florida cities by setting up 'Domestic Registry"

PENSACOLA  --  The push to give unmarried couples some of the same rights as people in traditional marriages in Florida continues. 
State Representative Linda Stewart of Orlando is pushing to have a statewide domestic partnership registry.  The measure would be on next year's legislative agenda.

14 cities have set up a domestic partnership registry.  Pensacola city council passed its version in a 8 to 1 vote which has Patrick Rogers on cloud nine.

"The best gift that was given that night at that second reading was the lack of opposition" said Reverend Patrick Rogers.

Rogers says this is a huge step towards equality.  The registry allows unmarried couples, gay or straight to make medical and funeral decisions for each other.  They each will have a say in the education of mutual children.  They can also visit each other in prison or the hospital.

"I encountered judgment and prejudice and all as far as visitation" said Rogers.

Rogers says having a domestic partnership registry would have made life easier for him when his partner of 23 years was in the hospital.

"My partner at the time was on so much morphine, he couldn't make decisions for himself and he wanted me to take over that role" said Rogers.

The city has 90 days to set up the registry.  They're preparing by researching what other cities have done, setting up a registration process and working out possible fees. 

"It's really a simple thing that people really don't think about dealing with unless you are in a domestic partnership" said Kimberly Brill, Pensacola.

Sarah and Josh have been together for 6 years.  They also expect to reap the benefits of a domestic registry.

"We love each other just as a married couple, and if something were to happen to him I would hope I have the same rights as anybody else" said Sarah Brantley, Pensacola.

The City of Pensacola is expected to have the registry set up by next Spring.