TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Yesterday, State Representative Mark Pafford (D- West Palm Beach) filed The Domestic Partnerships Act (HB-337) that will provide domestic partnerships protections to committed couples throughout Florida.
Florida currently ranks 8th in the nation, with 5.5 million people living in communities that recognize domestic partnerships, either through registries or public employer benefits. Rep. Pafford's bill would make these benefits and responsibilities available to all couples statewide.
More than half of Fortune 500 companies and a majority of Florida’s universities offer domestic partner benefits in order to attract and retain the best and brightest employees.
"Equality Florida is proud to work with Rep. Pafford and Sen. Sobel to provide these important protections to Florida's domestic partners, gay and straight," said Mallory Wells, public policy director for Equality Florida. "More than half of Florida’s universities and many of our major employers, such as Pepsico, BlueCross BlueShield of Florida, and Wells Fargo, offer domestic partnership benefits in order to attract and retain the best and brightest employees."
The Domestic Partnerships Act, would grant individuals in a domestic partnership the same benefits and responsibilities currently available through marriage.
"At a time when many Florida families are facing difficult financial challenges, this bill will provide valuable protections, as well as responsibilities, to unmarried couples and will help more Floridians to take care of their loved ones," said Representative Pafford. "House Bill 337 recognizes the intrinsic value of all families, and the importance that they be recognized and protected by law.”
Senator Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood) is the sponsor of the Senate version of The Domestic Partnership Act (SB-348).
Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.