L.A. Domestic Partner Registry Opens Thursday, May 6
Advocates, newly registered couples share 'Just Registered' cake
(LOS ANGELES, May 4, 1999) -- The first couples to be recognized as domestic partners by Los Angeles County will celebrate with other supporters of the newly created County registry, as unmarried couples line up to register on Thursday, May 6.
Sharing a 'Just Registered' cake at the ribbon-festooned festivities, several couples also will take part in a news conference Thursday hosted by Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, joined by L.A. City Councilmember Jackie Goldberg.
Goldberg, a leading registry proponent, along with her partner of 20 years, Sharon Stricker, will be among the first couples to register under the newly passed domestic partner ordinance.
"This day is about more than a framed certificate for Sharon and me. We are making a public declaration about our lives and our hearts, which I hope will bolster public recognition of lesbian and gay families like ours. This registry may also help add security to many couples' lives, as more employers realize how easy it is to offer their workers benefits for their domestic partners."
Just in time for Mother's Day: the County's first day of accepting domestic partner registrations comes just before Mother's Day weekend, a holiday that will have added significance for some couples.
Goldberg added, "The simple act of stepping forward and registering our partnership has extra meaning for us. When we celebrate Mother's Day this Sunday with our son Brian, having the County's official recognition of our love and commitment will make the day extra special."
Said Jennifer C. Pizer, managing attorney of Lambda's Western Regional Office in Los Angeles, "Registering as domestic partners means that the government acknowledges our relationships, sending a strong public message of respect for our families." Pizer, who co-authored the ordinance, will register with her partner of nearly 15 years, Doreena Wong.
"Let me make it clear," Pizer added, "domestic partner registration is not marriage and it does not bring the broad range of rights and responsibilities that come only with civil marriage. But this is an important public declaration and we hope it will inspire more people to join the County in respecting our commitment and love for each other."
"This is an historic opportunity for lesbian and gay couples to register their relationships, marking the first official recognition of these relationships for residents of Los Angeles County," said Gwenn A. Baldwin, executive director of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center. "It is, however, just a first step toward full civil rights."
Lambda and the Gay & Lesbian Center used the first registration day to encourage lesbian and gay couples -- who do not have the freedom to marry -- to prepare health care powers of attorney, wills and other legal documents that can help them protect each other in times of crisis. The registry also is open to non-gay couples who choose not to marry.
"Lesbian and gay couples must complete important additional documents to protect themselves, and this is a good reminder that we should all get our paperwork in order!" Pizer said.
The Registrar-Recorder's Office will be offering every newly registered couple the statutorily approved form entitled "Durable Power of Attorney For Health Care," also available on Lambda's Web site at www.lambdalegal.org. For referrals to attorneys for preparation of wills, trusts and other life planning documents, couples will be urged to call the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center at 323-993-7670.
Los Angeles County Assessor Kenneth Hahn, among the most senior level of elected county officials, also will register on Thursday with his partner of twenty-five years, Louis Mangual. Said Hahn, "We have looked forward to this day for a very long time. After these many years of joy and commitment to each other, it comes as a special pleasure that the County is extending its official recognition to our relationship in our silver anniversary year."
WHAT: First couples register as domestic partners in L.A. County
WHO: Lambda, L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, couples and supporters hold 'Just Registered' celebration
WHERE: L.A. County Registrar-Recorder, Van Nuys District Office, 14340 West Sylvan Street, Van Nuys, CA
WHEN: Thursday, May 6, 9:00 a.m. PST
CONTACT: Jennifer C. Pizer 323-937-2728 x 223; Peg Byron 212-809-8585 x 230, 888-987-1984 (pager); L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center 323-860-7357
Contact: Jennifer C. Pizer 323-937-2728 x 223
Peg Byron 212-809-8585 x 230, 888-987-1984 (pager)
L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center 323-860-7357