• Tavares council OKs domestic partner registry


    TAVARES, Fla. - The city of Tavares passed an ordinance allowing unmarried couples to register as domestic partners Wednesday evening.

    A room full of people in red applauded when Tavares Council members passed the ordinance creating the city's domestic-partner registry.

    The red shirts symbolize those who wanted those rights for gays and lesbians.

    "It makes everybody equal -- gay, straight, it does not matter," said resident Sam Green.

    The registry allows gays, lesbians and unmarried straight couples to have the same rights a married couple would have.

    For many it is an especially important decision because Florida Hospital Waterman, one of Lake County's main hospitals, is in the city.

    Joe Andreottola lives in Mount Dora. He said he showed up to support the ordinance because he and his partner of 14 years, who are legal custodians for each other, have had complications at the hospital.

    "We've still had problems with doctors not speaking to one or another," said Andreottola.

    The ordinance doesn't affect Sam Green directly, but he said he likes the message it sends about the city.

    "That they're an open community," said Green.

    That may be the message Tavares resident Vance Jochim is worried about.

    Although Jochim thinks the ordinance has valid points, he's against it.

    "The issue is whether we start attracting the radicals," said Jochim.

    Council members said another deciding factor on the ordinance was that it also affects anyone at the Lake County Jail here, because it is on city property.

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    Tavares council OKs domestic partner registry