Last year, the vote to pass Orlando’s domestic partner registry was not only quick, but uneventful as well.  However, extending the registry to cover the whole county, turned into a tumultuous political battle.  On Friday when the vote was taken for the measure, neither the county commissioners nor Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs showed.  Nevertheless, the measure passed the commission by a 6-1 vote.  Comptroller Martha Haynie, who advocated for both registries, was the one who the official rollout was left to, and will be the person who will catalog all the relationships recorded by  the registry. 

Haynie stated that “we can acknowledge and celebrate that now anywhere in Orange County more families can be protected and respected when they face illnesses, accidents or end-of-life decisions.”  She also described the registry as an “important milestone in recognizing gay and lesbian families.”

One couple who has been a committed couple for more than two decades, became the first couple to sign up for Orange County’s new domestic partner registry.  For Phil Windsor and Gary Ashland, their relationship wasn’t legally recognized by the town of Edgewood where they reside, until Friday.  Now the couple will share some of the same rights that their married neighbors have always enjoyed.

Gary Ashland said that the registry is the “first step towards actual marriage,” with his partner, Phil Windsor stating that this is a “big step from when I was growing up in West Virginia.”

Couples who desire to register as domestic partners can register in person downtown at Orlando City Hall for $30.00, or they can print a form from the city or comptroller’s website, have it signed and notarized and send it in with a fee of $18.50 and they will officially be registered as a domestic partner couple in Orange County.