Domestic partnership registration begins today in Tampa

Lines formed well before doors opened, and Mayor Bob Buckhorn greeted couples as they waited.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn greets couples as they wait to register Monday morning.
  • Mayor Bob Buckhorn greets couples as they wait to register Monday morning.

"This is fantastic," said Charles Edwin Kyle, known as Poule d’Eau, as he entered City Hall with his partner of 16 years, Ronald Zweig. "It’s a good day for Tampa."

Kyle, who has been out as a gay man for 42 years, said he has been waiting for this his whole life.

"I’m finally getting some rights as a homosexual," Kyle said.

Councilwoman Lisa Montelione was the first to register with her partner, Josh Geary. Though she was not first in line, Montelione graciously thanked other couples who let her go first.

"I know some of you have been waiting even longer for this," Montelione said.

The first male couple to register was Justin Grant and Phil Wright, whose grandparents served as witnesses while both men nervously smiled and filled out their registration form.

"I am so excited for them," said Joan Welch, Grant’s grandmother. "It is about time."

In April, Tampa became the first city in the bay area to create such a registry. Since then, Gulfport, St. Petersburg and Clearwater have also established registries of their own.

"I was surprised that we had no pushback from anybody," Montelione said. "It is a testament that people know that the city of Tampa is fair to everyone."

To register, both partners must be over the age of 18 and present with their driver’s license or state-issued ID. Registration costs $30. The registry is only applicable within Tampa city limits.

After officially registering and being handed his and his partner’s Domestic Partnership Certificate, Kyle fought back tears.

"I’m feeling absolute pride over me right now," Kyle said. "We want to thank the city of Tampa. This day is special for me."

  • Charles Edwin Kyle and Ronald Zweig receive certification of their domestic partnership registration.

Despite flooded streets, tornado watches and a weekend of rain, nothing can stop love.

Tampa opened its new domestic partnership registry at 9 a.m. today at the City Clerk’s office in the Old City Hall.

The registry is open to both gay and straight unmarried couples and grants them some of the same rights guaranteed to married couples, including hospital visitation, healthcare decisions, funeral and burial decisions and rights to shared children.

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