More Couples Needed to Sign Mutual Commitment Registry

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The Utah Pride Center is calling for more same-sex partners to participate in a Salt Lake City registry for unmarried but mutually dependent couples. 

Proposed by Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker on his third day in office, the registry was one of the most controversial topics in this year’s general legislative session. Nonetheless it survived a challenge by anti-gay Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, and took effect April 17 under the name ‘mutual commitment registry.’ The legislature insisted that it not be called a domestic partner registry so as not to conflict with a constitutional amendment forbidding gay marriage in Utah.

At press time, 23 gay and lesbian couples have signed on to the registry, a number that Yana Walton, the Center’s Director of Communications, said her organization would like to see increase.

“That’s not a whole lot and one of them was [Center executive director] Valerie [Larabee] and her partner,” she said.

To sign the registry, couples need to be 18 or older and need to provide proof of three of the following five things, as well as a $25 fee:

1. A joint loan obligation for a residence or joint ownership of a vehicle.
2. Proof of joint bank accounts or credit cards.
3. A life insurance policy, benefits account, or a will declaring one partner as the other’s beneficiary.
4. Power of attorney allowing partners to make financial and healthcare decisions for each other.
5. Proof that partners are authorized to sign for purposes of each other’s bank or credit accounts.

Participation in the registry provides proof of partnership to private employers who offer domestic partnership benefits. It also guarantees registrants the right to visit their partners at all health care facilities in Salt Lake City.

The registry is administered through the City Recorder’s Office.

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