Phx. City Council approves domestic partner rights

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PHOENIX -- The following is a press release from Equality Arizona:

City council passes ordinance

Equality Arizona applauded today's Phoenix City Council decision to adopt an ordinance to recognize domestic partnerships in the City of Phoenix.

By a vote of 6 to 0, with 3 members absent, the council approved the creation of a domestic partner registry for Phoenix residents, granting unmarried gay or straight couples in committed relationships the right to visit each other in the hospital.

"By recognizing domestic partnerships, the Phoenix City Council removed some of the barriers that have prevented unmarried couples, gay or straight, from being able to take care of each other," said Barbara McCullough-Jones, Executive Director of Equality Arizona. "It's hard to imagine what it would be like to be told that you couldn't visit your loved one in the hospital or hold your partner's hand before they went into surgery. Unfortunately, that story is all too common for gay and lesbian couples. We are thankful that the members of the Phoenix City Council have taken this important step to help unmarried couples in committed relationships take care of each other."

The six members who voted for the ordinance were Mayor Phil Gordon, Councilman Tom Simplot, Councilman Greg Stanton, Councilman Michael Nowakowski, Councilman Michael Johnson and Councilman Claude Mattox.

The ordinance takes effect on February 9, 2009, at which time the Phoenix City Clerk's office will begin accepting registrations for domestic partnerships.

"Equality Arizona will continue to work in partnership with our allies on the council, including Mayor Gordon, Councilman Simplot, Councilman Stanton, Councilman Nowakowski and others, to ensure Phoenix residents are able to register on the first day of implementation," said McCullough-Jones.