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Council approves partner registry

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At their Sept. 8 meeting, members of Village Council voted unanimously in favor of a first reading of an ordinance that will revise Village ordinances to add a domestic partnership registry along with language that prohibits discrimination or intimidation based on sexual orientation.

Council voted 5–0 for the change, with Judith Hempfling, Karen Wintrow, Lori Askeland, John Booth and Kathryn Van der Heiden voting for the revision.

“I’m very pleased that now we have domestic partnership that gives persons who are either heterosexual or of different sexual orientations a way to acknowledge their partnership. That’s a step forward for the village,” Hempfling said after the vote.

The action took place with little discussion. Council will vote on a second reading of the ordinance at its next meeting on Sept. 21.

The revision will add the new category of domestic partnership to Chapter 632 of the Village codified ordinances, which addresses human relations. The new definition of domestic partnership is “the non-marital intimate relationship of two adults of the same or different sex, who share a common residence and affirm that they share responsibility for each other’s common welfare, and have signed and filed a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the Village. Domestic partners will be deemed to have an “intimate” relationship and to “share responsibility of one another’s common welfare” if they execute a Declaration of Domestic Partnership affirming that such facts are true.”

Those interested in declaring domestic partnerships should do so through the office of the Village Manager Mark Cundiff, Council members said on Monday.

Monday night’s vote also added language to the Village ordinances that prohibits discrimination in the sale or rental of property to persons “based solely on their race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, handicap or ancestry.” It also added language that prohibits intimidation based on the same criteria.

The action had been proposed by the Village Human Relations Commission.

“So many cities across the nation are creating a registry so domestic partners have the same protections as married couples,” said HRC member Joan Chappelle in an interview on Wednesday. The group hopes that the Village action encourages local businesses to provide insurance for domestic partners, according to Chappelle.

“It’s a beginning,” she said.

Members of HRC are Chappelle, Don Wallis, Ona Harshaw and Council representative John Booth.

Other items of Council’s Sept. 8 business will be covered in next week’s News.

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