Will Domestic Partnership Ordinances Sway Voters in November?

Take our poll: Have your views on this issue evolved over the past year?

One year ago today, the . Since then, nine couples have put their names on the registry.

The ordinance allowed long-term heterosexual and same-sex couples to register their relationships, giving those couples recognition in the city and supplying them with various benefits families often have.

, but others believed a city ordinance would provide Richfield's legislative representatives more leverage when tackling the issue at the state level.

Now, as Minnesotans debate whether to , more cities are continuing to pass domestic partnership laws. Have your views of this issue evolved over the past year since Richfield adopted the registry?

Kevin O'Donovan February 09, 2012 at 11:57 AM
What benefits are being offered? Is it a benefit for an ex-spouse to continue to draw alimony, when a marriage would terminate the alimony or any other court award that would expire in the event of marriage? Is it a way to hide household income, and to draw state or federal benefits? Why would a City Council assume such an authority? Was it ever offered to the voters in the form of a referendum? Why wouldn't it be?
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) February 09, 2012 at 06:45 PM
This ordinance was not offered up for a city-wide vote, however, I believe there was a public hearing held last year for people to come forward and speak on the issue. Not sure why it wouldn't be a public vote. The main benefit I believe is for couples, heterosexual or same-sex, to verify their relationship. In addition, if company's health plans offer it, domestic partners can be added to one's insurance like a spouse or child can be. Some also believe that in the event of an illness the ordinance can offer leverage as being the next of kin, but there is some dispute on that.
Philip Lowe, Jr. February 09, 2012 at 07:46 PM
My partner and I were the couple that brought the request to the Human Rights Commission and the City Council to move this ordinance forward. After the initial discussion, Phil Duran the Legal Director for Outfront Minnesota was invited to talk about what a Domestic Partner Registry does and does not do. After it was initially brought before the City Council, they recommended that a City wide public forum be held. One such event was held in October of 2010. Citizens from all over Richfield attended the event at Woodlake Nature Center. At the conclusion of the forum, we had only one person who spoke in opposition. The remaining people supported the idea. All the ordinance does is recognize domestic partnerships in Richfield. It recognizes couples opposite sex and/or same sex who are not and/or cannot legally marry. It basically says, the City of Richfield recognizes that there are domestic partners in our community and we acknowledge them. Minnesota needs marriage equality to be the law in the State. As of last night, Washington State now has marriage equality. Prop 8 in California was struck down by Federal Court of Appeals in the 9th Circuit. Marriage equality does not harm children, families, nor does it weaken marriages. It recognizes that whether an opposite sex or same-sex couples, family is family. Everyone is included.
Philip Lowe, Jr. February 09, 2012 at 07:51 PM
I am working with Minnesotans United for All Families. http://www.minnesotansunitedforallfamilies.com/ to defeat the marriage amendment. We want Minnesota to be a place where all families are recognized. Not just families headed by straight people. At the end of the debate the question is: "What kind of Minnesota are we going to be?" Are we going to be one that is guided by only one religious point of view that subjugates people whether or not they agree with that point of view? Or, will Minnesota recognize that we are a State of diverse opinions and ways of living, and that we want all Minnesotans to have an opportunity for "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"? I am working so that Minnesota answers that question with the latter question I have asked.
Molly Pederson February 09, 2012 at 08:01 PM
I live in Richfield and am glad to see there is a domestic registry, but it doesn't change the fact that MARRIAGE also needs to be a legally recognized option for members of the LGBT community. The reason I said that no, my opinion on gay marriage hasn't changed over the past year, is because this is a long-held belief of mine. I do hope that folks who once opposed gay marriage have changed their views over the past year as they recognize that there are many wonderful ways that people can join together and become families.
Kevin O'Donovan February 09, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Philip, Thanks for the information. Let's not equate discrimination with bigotry,nor prejudice with bigotry. We all place differing valuations on too many things to list. We all have prejudices which guide us in our everyday thoughts and behaviors. If you have a child who does something wrong, you continue loving the child and opposing the behavior simultaneously.You would not hate them. If the City Council was composed of Muslims could they enact Sharia Law, or say that we recognize its legitimacy in Richfield? It's a good thing to gather information, but some things are beyond the City Council's pay grade. We are a Constitutional Republic that acts democratically and is governed by a majority within Constitutional limits. The majority does not rule absolutely. Some who take an extreme defensive posture on "Privacy" only seem do so when it is to their benefit. Some people who possess a limited authority are blind to the word "Limited"in their job description. Some who conjure up "Rights" for themselves are to quick to dismiss the"Rights" of others. We elect officials not weather vanes.
Mindy A Jost February 09, 2012 at 10:15 PM
My views on "same sex marriage" have not changed over the past year. I have always held the belief that this is a matter of legal equality. Who I marry has no bearing on the life of anyone else. It is of no concern to you. This is my business and my life. I deserve the same rights and protections that are currents provided by default to the "straight marriages" in this country.
Andrea Morisette Grazzini February 10, 2012 at 06:37 AM
I agree: those who take extreme defensive postures on "privacy" only seem to do so when it is to their benefit. Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6enCKZ6qjUU The Catholic Church is another tax-payer supported organization taking an extreme defensive posture on privacy. In this case, to prevent tax-payers, churches, schools and parents from learning the names of (at least) 46 sexual predators. The Catholic Archdioceses of St. Paul & Mpls (which includes Richfield) filed suit against Jim Keenan when Keenan asked them to reveal the name of 46 priests that the local Catholic Church acknowledges are known predatory pedophiles. Jim was "Victim #76C" of a priest who has long been shuffled from parish-to-parish, where he has abused 100s of children, while the Church has taken a vow of privacy. Never telling communities where he and other predators are. Though civil law does, the tax-exempt Church has defended it's privacy to hide its sexual predators from the same laws tax-payers pay to have upheld. Andrea
Stephen Parsons February 10, 2012 at 02:50 PM
I also replied that my opinion on gay marriage had not changed because I have believed for many years that the State should not deny the right of two loving adults to solemnify their commitment to each other.
Kevin O'Donovan February 10, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Mindy, There is legal equality. Why is it that the same people who seem to be the most ardent cheerleaders for "Privacy Rights" demand public endorsement? How many things in life are denied us because we don't meet the qualifications? Why would we chose to celebrate an unhealthy lifestyle? We seem to be on a mission to end cigarette smoking, and are willing to restrict our food choices, lightbulbs, and even our asthma inhalers. Why is this issue so inflamatory,when there are legal options, short of marriage, that can achieve most of the same results? I think homosexuality is a personality disorder. It is a sickness. Why promote a disease? I know many will disagree,but that's life.
Ronald Leurquin February 10, 2012 at 06:32 PM
My opinion on 'gay marriage' has not changed one bit in several years now. I oppose it, but will be voting NO on the ammendment. Why you may ask? Well, I believe that 'marriage' is a religious sacrement and has no place in a secular government AT ALL. My governement should not be legally recognizing 'marriage' at all, and should only recognize 'civil unions' when it comes to legal protections, inheritance, medical decisions, etc. Problem with my psition is that far too many of the laws in our land have 'marriage' written into them in a way taht making things go the way I thnk they should would be very difficult and require a lot of work by legislators to re-write the laws to omit marriage and incert civil unions into them. Ron Leurquin Richfield
David Haines February 13, 2012 at 11:16 PM
"homosexuality is a personality disorder. It is a sickness.Why promote a disease?" Kevin, I have agreed with some things you have posted on here but I think you intentionally have your head in the sand on this one. https://confluence.cornell.edu/display/WWC/The+Evolution+of+the+Medical+Definition+of+Homosexuality "In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association voted to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders, and patients practicing homosexuality were no longer treated as if it were a disease." 1973 for the APA in case anyone missed it. I'm sure somebody else will take the time to add any of a number of other medical, scientific, and social organizations that no longer believe that homosexuality is a disease or a sickness. Can you find even one that still believes as you do? Kevin, would you be for rights equal to that of a civil marriage for homosexual couples but with a different name, such as a civil union? Ronald, another problem with your position is that while people squabble over semantics, real families and kids are being affected. We should just defeat this amendment and worry about the "civil union vs. gay marriage" debate when that is the actual issue before us (which will be soon I bet if the amendment is defeated). I welcome that debate and think it will be healthy for our state. Let's not pass something that will make our state look intolerant of homosexuals and that will just get reversed in 15 years when the 'old guard' dies off anyway.
Kevin O'Donovan February 14, 2012 at 04:10 AM
The American Psychiatric Association in the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders" had listed Homosexuality as an abnormal condition, a mental disorder in need of treatment. On pages 24 through 39 of Dannemeyer's book it tells the story of violence, intimidation and coercion used to change that listing. There was no "search for truth", no "scientific study" there was raw power being brought to bear and political manipulation. Homosexuality is not all "Sunshine and lollipops', "caviar wishes and champagne dreams". It is a challenge and difficulty for those who suffer from same sex attraction. To celebrate it as something noble, and thereby encourage the behavior to develop in some where latency or curiosity exists, is in itself a cruel act. It is cultural suicide to encourage homosexuality. It is inhuman to be cruel to anyone. We are all people of equal dignity and worth, and are endowed with the same inalienable rights. If we are going to vote in November, and all that the average voter is going to see is a series of syrupy heartwarming tales of triumph and woe, let's begin with the facts, and make a decision based on what we know, not what we have been propagandized into believing. Let things go on as they are, support the amendment, and let's stop imagining that homosexuality is something its not. There are legal tools available to provide security and protections. Deep, abiding friendships are a good thing, and good friends are a blessing.
Brie Shultz February 14, 2012 at 06:02 AM
Funny, it always seems the people most adamantly against gay rights tend to be closeted gays themselves (think a lot of famous politicians and religious leaders). I wonder if the same it true with patch readers? Just say'n.
David Haines February 14, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Kevin, I ask again: would you be for rights equal to that of a civil marriage for homosexual couples but with a different name, such as a civil union? Can you find one secular organization that CURRENTLY believes as you do that it is a personality disorder. It is a sickness.. a disease? "It is cultural suicide to encourage homosexuality." Yea, all the countries that have legalized same-sex marriage are really going down hill, aren't they? I would take examples of any that have please, including our own military culture, that now allows it's members to serve openly also.
David Haines February 14, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Since 1993, homosexuals have been allowed to serve openly in the Israeli military, including special units. This is change in the initial policy, which tended to view homosexuality as a mental illness. Was this cultural suicide for them? They still seem to be one of the best militaries in the world, along with the US. Countries that allow gay people to serve: If to allow something is to encourage it as your suggest, then have all of these countries just gone ahead and committed cultural suicide within their military? 1.1 Albania 1.2 Argentina 1.3 Australia 1.4 Austria 1.5 Bahamas 1.6 Belgium 1.7 Bermuda 1.8 Canada 1.9 Republic of China 1.10 Colombia 1.11 Croatia 1.12 Czech Republic 1.13 Denmark 1.14 Estonia 1.15 Finland 1.16 France 1.17 Germany 1.18 Greece 1.19 Republic of Ireland 1.20 Israel 1.21 Italy 1.22 Japan 1.23 Lithuania 1.24 Luxembourg 1.25 Malta 1.26 Netherlands 1.27 New Zealand 1.28 Norway 1.29 Peru 1.30 Philippines 1.31 Poland 1.32 Romania 1.33 Russia 1.34 Serbia 1.35 Slovenia 1.36 South Africa 1.37 Spain 1.38 Sweden 1.39 Switzerland 1.40 Thailand 1.41 United Kingdom 1.41.1 Current policy 1.41.2 Recent events 1.42 United States 1.43 Uruguay
David Haines February 14, 2012 at 02:15 PM
I cut and pasted the list so forgive the formatting please.
Stephen Parsons February 14, 2012 at 04:57 PM
If by "Dannemeyer" you are referring to former Congressman William Dannemeyer of Orange County, CA, I question the trustworthiness and agenda of your source. Dannemeyer has/had a fetish about homosexuality. He also attempted to block federal funding of evolution-related exhibits at the Smithsonian Institution in 1982, and pushed for easing the separation of church and state. In 1990 he was one of twenty representatives to vote against the Americans with Disabilities Act. He objected to the use of federal funds to study the AIDS problem, but advocated the use of federal funds to determine the extent of homosexuality in the USA.
David Haines February 14, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Heterosexual relationships are not all "Sunshine and lollipops', "caviar wishes and champagne dreams" either. Relationships of both types take work and will always have their ups and downs.
Kevin O'Donovan February 14, 2012 at 09:32 PM
David, I would oppose attempt to disguise "Marriage" under softer more easily palatable terms such as "Civil Union". The modification of language through the redefinition of terms, phrases, and words promotes confusion, and chaos.It inevitably leads to frustration, mistrust, an inability to communicate effectively, rage, rebellion and sometimes violence. As you know, not all discrimination is unjust. Every choice we make is an exercise of proper, lawful discrimination. I believe that there are many noble individuals who suffer from same sex attraction. We all have our challenges. It is how we acknowledge them in ourselves, and deal with them, that is often what makes us weaker or stronger. An alcoholic who maintains sobriety is a fair example. There are ample legal tools available, for anyone to form economic partnerships, to communicate extraordinary benefits from one person to another, or to assume mutual binding responsibilities. Marriage is between one man and one woman. Weakness is not always a crime, but it is not the ideal. Those who support the "Marriage Amendment" see it as a defensive act to acknowledge and preserve what is best. It is not as an offensive act that Intends to persecute. I am also opposed to divorce, particularly "No Fault Divorce" and "No Fault" auto insurance, If we remove the exercise of sound judgement and reasonable consequences from society, how are we any better than a pack of wolves? We need to provide children an example of what's best.


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