CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio, January 26, 2004 ( – Less than one week after the Ohio Legislature made one of the U.S.‘s most vocal statements in opposition to the legalization of same-sex “marriage,” a Cleveland suburb has voted to open a “domestic partner registry” for unmarried couples. The first 16 of 17 registrants were same-sex “couples.” 

Although the registration carries no legal rights binding on governments or employers, opponents worry that it will usher in same-sex benefits such as pensions and health care, and erode the traditional idea of marriage which the majority of U.S. citizens support.

Eventually, the city will offer online and mail registration, the mayor said.

The domestic registry idea is not new. California created a state-wide registry for same-sex couples, allowing similar legal standing as married spouses have in the state.

In a city-wide referendum, 55 percent of voters were in favour of the new registry.  Cleveland Heights Family First Initiative told reporters that it is wrong for a city to legitimize a lifestyle many are in disagreement with. A group statement said that the registry attempts to redefine marriage and that “will have very serious negative effects on our society as a whole.” 

Following the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage, the Ohio Senate passed the Defense of Marriage Act on Wednesday, re-affirming the state position which does not recognize same-sex marriage. The ban on domestic partner benefits, which applies to gay and unmarried heterosexual couples, makes the law the strongest of same-sex ‘marriage’ bans passed in 37 states. The bill provides exceptions on the ban for cities, so supporters say that it shouldn’t have any effect on the Cleveland Heights registry. 

With files from CNN

Read Fridays coverage:

Ohio Passes Strongest Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ Ban in U.S.


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