BRADENTON -- A Sarasota activist wants Bradenton to adopt a domestic partner registry ordinance to benefit all unmarried couples.
Ken Shelin, a former Sarasota commissioner, has reached out to Bradenton officials so he could show a presentation about the importance of a domestic partner registry and its benefits.
"I'm trying to get them to draft an ordinance and set it for public hearing," said Shelin.
A domestic partner registry is a database a city, county or state creates where couples can document their relationship.
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Shelin was influential in helping enact Sarasota's domestic partner registry ordinance. "Every place we've had to do this had an unanimous vote," he said.
Shelin said Sarasota's city ordinance is gender neutral and gives couples seven rights, including being able to visit a partner in the hospital and make funeral arrangements when the loved one dies. He said there are many reasons people don't get married, some are for financial and because the law doesn't allow it.
"That's why this is a valuable tool," said Shelin.
Shelin presented a model ordinance to the cities of Venice and North Port and to Sarasota County. He said Venice voted unanimously to adopt the ordinance. North Port and Sarasota County have draft ordinances up for public hearings.
Shelin said he spoke with Bradenton City Clerk Carl Callahan last week and they discussed a presentation at the council's meeting next Wednesday.
Callahan said the presentation was going to be conducted in workshop form and the workshop had not been scheduled. He said he preferred not to comment on the issue until he had more time to study it.
Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston said he knew little about what Shelin was doing.
"It's too premature for me to say anything about it," said Poston.
Shelin said the support for the registry has been positive with no opposition.
"The support demonstrates a level of tolerance that people do not ordinarily expect in Florida," said Shelin.
Shelin will be presenting Tuesday at the city of Holmes Beach meeting.
Janey Tate, city of Bradenton and Palmetto reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. You can follow her on Twitter at Janey_Tate.