New Florida Senate Bill Would Allow Domestic Partnerships in State

The bill by Sen. Eleanor Sobel would allow gay Floridians to obtain some rights approaching marriage, the News Service of Florida reported

Wednesday, Jan 9, 2013  |  Updated 8:23 PM EDT
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A bill that would allow Floridians to have domestic partnerships was filed in the state Senate by a Hollywood Democrat Wednesday, the News Service of Florida reported.

Sen. Eleanor Sobel’s bill would allow gay Floridians to obtain some rights approaching marriage, although the legislation says it is not attempting to circumvent the state Constitution provision defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, according to the News Service of Florida.

Any two people who are at least 18 years old could establish a domestic partnership under the proposed law.

"The state has a strong interest in promoting stable and lasting families, and believes that all families should be provided with the opportunity to obtain necessary legal protections and status and the ability to achieve their fullest potential," says the legislation, which is Senate Bill 196.

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Sobel, who has filed similar bills before, did not immediately respond a request for comment from the News Service of Florida.

Forty-five percent of Florida voters said they oppose gay marriage compared to 43 percent who support it, a Quinnipiac University survey in December found.

The leader of a group opposed to gay marriage predicted that the bill would not get far in the state Legislature, which is controlled by Republicans.

“I think they're lucky if they get it debated," John Stemburger, the president of the Florida Family Policy Council, told the News Service of Florida.

Stemburger said that domestic partnership proposals try to avoid Florida’s legal definition of marriage.

The first two openly gay lawmakers were elected to the Legislature in November.

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