The City of West Hollywood marked a major milestone last week as the city clerk’s office filed its 10,000th couple as registered domestic partners.
When West Hollywood residents Kevin Carter and Ali Babu Che Johnson arrived at city hall last Thursday to file as domestic partners. The city clerk informed them that they were the 10,000th couple to do so, as they all celebrated in the city hall lobby. West Hollywood was the first city in the nation to adopt a domestic partnership ordinance.
The Domestic Partnership Program in West Hollywood grants two non-married adults the ability to declare a domestic partnership if they are each other’s sole partner and are responsible for each other’s welfare. Couples do not have to be residents of West Hollywood to register. Officials said many couples who file do so because it provides an opportunity to be counted and to make a documented public commitment.
A West Hollywood domestic partnership may be used by other agencies or entities that recognize such arrangements. Domestic partners who reside in West Hollywood gain certain rights and responsibilities, such as visitation rights in health care facilities and jails, as well as benefits under the city’s rent stabilization ordinance.
“The impulse that invented these domestic partnerships in 1985 has turned into the marriage equality movement that is sweeping the nation today,” said West Hollywood Mayor John D’Amico. “Love continues to conquer all; what a terrific milestone. Keith [Rand] and I have certificate number 425 signed by the West Hollywood city clerk in October 1992 and it is as treasured as our marriage license from 2008.”
Just weeks after incorporating as a municipality in late 1984, the West Hollywood City Council unanimously adopted the city’s domestic partnership ordinance, Ordinance No. 22, on Feb. 21, 1985. Later that year, the city successfully lobbied to change California state law so that the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) included domestic partners in benefit plans statewide.
On May 20, 1996, the West Hollywood City Council voted unanimously to adopt Ordinance No. 466 to extend the city’s domestic partnership program to recognize domestic partnerships registered in other jurisdictions, thus providing all domestic partners the same rights as couples who became domestic partners in West Hollywood. In 2003, West Hollywood enacted an ordinance requiring contractors, vendors and franchises to provide domestic partnership benefits to their employees as a condition of contracts with the city.
Domestic partnership registrations can be made at West Hollywood City Hall, Office of the City Clerk, with a $25 fee for filing a domestic partner registration. For information, visit www.weho.org/domesticpartnerships.
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