St. Paul to consider domestic partner registryby Elizabeth Baier, Minnesota Public Radio,
Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Same-sex couples living in St. Paul might soon be able to register as domestic partners.
City council members Lee Helgen and Dave Thune will introduce the proposed domestic partner registry legislation at the June 24 meeting.
If passed, couples who wish to register must confirm that they are "committed to one another to the same extent as married persons" and are "jointly responsible to each other for the necessities of life."
The registry would serve as a legal document that would make it easier for employers to offer benefits to same-sex couples and their dependents.
Helgen said the registry isn't the equivalent of a marriage license and offers no official benefit from the city. But he said it may be an important step for gay and lesbian couples anyway.
"Increasingly we are seeing that companies, and now the federal government, are providing benefits, and we just want to make sure we provide an option for families in St. Paul to register and document their commitment," Helgen said.
State law prevents cities from offering benefits to the domestic partners of employees, so the measure isn't expected to have any budgetary impact on the city. Helgen said he expects the council to approve the measure, and a spokesman for Chris Coleman says the mayor will sign it.
The ordinance would also apply to heterosexual couples who want to register as domestic partners. Minneapolis and Duluth offer a similar domestic partner registry.
Elizabeth Baier, based in Rochester, covers news in southeastern Minnesota for MPR News.