ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Orange County commissioners have approved a new domestic partner registry.
The domestic partner registry ordinance is called HELP, which stands for Health Education and Life Protection.
The registry provides similar rights as one that recently passed in Orlando.
In Orlando’s registry, partners have to live together and have financial and emotional ties. Under Orange County's ordinance, those requirements don’t exist.
The measure passed by a 6-1 vote.
"We are doing something groundbreaking and providing important rights across the board," said Mayor Teresa Jacobs.
Under the ordinance, Orange County residents can designate a support person who will be allowed to make hospital visits, and make health care decisions and burial arrangements for them if needed.
Most people who spoke out supported the registry, while others spelled out nightmare situations for same-sex couples who were not allowed to visit one another in the hospital.
The mayor has been quick to point out the registry is not just for same-sex couples. It can be for any friends, including senior citizens who need support.
The registry will go into effect July 6. The county has not said what the cost will be to register.
Orange County’s passage of the ordinance comes just four days after Volusia County Council members voted to create Central Florida’s first countywide registry.