Salt Lake City’s First … Mutual Commitments

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The first couple … and only so far as this writing … to register their relationship with Salt Lake City’s Mutual Commitment Registry is Brandie Balken and Lisa LeDuc. The openly lesbian couple entered the Salt Lake City Recorder’s office amid a throng of news media.

Balken exclaimed, “fantastic,” when acting city recorder Chris Meeker told the couple they were the first on the registry.

The couple was required by the city to provide three forms proving mutual dependence, sign a statement that they are “in a relationship of mutual support, caring, and commitment, and are responsible for each other’s welfare,” and prove they share a Salt Lake City residence.

Balken and LeDuc have been together for seven years, sharing a home in the Sugar House neighborhood. They said the $25 fee for the certificate was tremendously less expensive than the $2,500 it cost to go through a lawyer to draw legal documents concerning their estate.

Balken is a native Utahn who has spent the last 15 years as an activist for many causes including Food Not Bombs, Seeds of Peace, The Western Shoshone Defense Project, The Nat’l Center for Lesbian Rights, Equality Utah, and SweRve. She is also a radio host on KRCL and a former columnist with Salt Lake Metro, which is now QSaltLake.

LeDuc is a licensed massage therapist who has worked with the Salt Lake Trappers, University of Utah football team, Women’s basketball teams, and the athletes on the 2002 Olympic and Paralympics teams.

The registry was proposed by Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker as one of his first items of business as he entered the office in January. It quickly came under fire by the Republican-dominate legislature. Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, drafted a bill to kill the registry, but it failed after Buttars came under scrutiny for comments made on the floor of the senate that many took as racist.

Sen. Greg Bell, R-Fruit Heights, drafted a “kinder, gentler” bill, seeking input from city officials. The bill’s main effect was a requirement to not include the term “Domestic Partner” in the registry’s name.

From the city’s Web site, requirements to receiving a certificate include:

1. A statement that the individuals are in a relationship of mutual support, caring, and commitment, and are responsible for each other’s welfare.

2. Registrants must be each other’s sole domestic partner; be over 18 years old, be competent to contract, and share a primary residence in Salt Lake City.

3. Applicants will be required to provide any three of the following five documents:

a. A joint loan obligation, mortgage, lease, or joint ownership of a vehicle

b. A life insurance policy, retirement benefits account, or will designating the domestic
partner as beneficiary thereto, or will of the partner which designates the other as executor.

c. A mutually granted power of attorney for purposes of healthcare or financial management

d. Proof showing that the partner is authorized to sign for purposes of the other’s bank or
credit account.

e. Proof of a joint bank or credit account.



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