On Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker's third day in office, he announced a proposal to register same-sex and other domestic partnerships within city limits. The Salt Lake City Council is seeking comments, pro and con on the city's Web site at slcgov.com.
In a staff report written by Salt Lake City Budget and Policy Analyst Jennifer Bruno, the purpose of the Domestic Partnership Registry is:
“The City is committed to promoting justice, equity, and inclusiveness in the provision of health care and many other benefits to all of its citizens that might be offered by the City or by private employers licensed by the City. The City finds that relationships exist in many different forms, including committed, unmarried couples in either same or opposite sex relationships. The City wishes to promote the public health, safety and welfare, and prosperity of its citizens and generally improve overall quality of life by allowing for the efficient and streamlined disposition of health care benefits or other benefits that the City or businesses licensed within the City might offer to their employees – including an employee’s domestic partner. The City finds that a City-maintained ist is the best way for the City and for businesses licensed within the City to reliably ascertain whether an employee’s domestic partner and beneficiaries are eligible for such benefits.
Therefore, it is the policy of the City to allow any two adults in a committed relationship who meet the domestic partnership criteria to register with the City and to obtain a certificate attesting to their status.”
According to the report, two individuals seeking domestic partner status must each declare that they are each other's domestic partner, be age 18 or older and unmarried, show common financial obligation, and be cohabitating.
Joint financial obligation would be proven by offering three of the following documents:
- Joint obligation, mortgage, lease or vehicle ownership
- Life insurance policy, retirement beneftis account or will designating the domestic partner as a beneficiary or executor
- A mutually-granted power of attorney
- Proof showing the partner is authorized to sign for the purposes of the other's bank or credit account
- Proof of join bank or credit account
A "Certificate of Domestic Partnership" will be awarded attesting that the two individuals are in a relationship of "mutual support, caring and commitment; and are responsible for each other's physical and financial welfare; and have the present intention to remain in that relationship.
The report states that the proposal is consistent with the city's recently-enacted "Adult Designee" ordinance in that it does not imply a romantic relationship between domestic partners.
Those registered as a domestic partnership would be allowed to use or access any city facility's benefits that are otherwise afforded to married couples, such as family pool passes. Domestic partners would be allowed health care visitation in and health care facility within Salt Lake City limits where immediate family or spouses would be allowed visitation. The report also states that companies looking to provide domestic partner benefits to their employees could use the registry as proof of the relationship.
The registry would be paid for through registration fees and not through tax-payer expense.
The City Council is scheduled to hear the proposal on Feb. 5.