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December 31, 2010

Cleveland Heights defines registered partners as spouses

Cleveland Heights--City council on December 20 passed an ordinance defining domestic partners as spouses in the city code.

Ordinance 166-2010 adds a new subsection to the code’s definitions, “to treat registered domestic partners as spouses and family for the purpose of enforcement of the Administrative, Zoning and Building Codes of the City,” according to the agenda for the meeting.

The measure passed 6-0. Councilor Bonnie Caplan was absent.

The city’s domestic partner registry was passed by voters in the 2003 general election, and has since survived anti-gay court challenges. Two other Ohio cities, Toledo and Cleveland, have similar registries.

The change, in part, adds domestic partners into the equation for the maximum number of people who can live in a residence. Without this, for instance, overzealous city employees or landlords could find fault with a person living with their partner and their child in what is designated as a single-family house.

The city already recognizes domestic partners as spouses for health and dental insurance, the Family Medical Leave Act, and sick and bereavement leave, in addition to rules against nepotism.

Additionally, Cleveland Heights recognizes all marriages, civil unions and domestic partnerships that are valid in their issuing jurisdictions. They are considered domestic partners under Cleveland Heights ordinances.

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