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Cincinnati's domestic partner registry up and running

Tana Weingartner

Cincinnati's domestic partner registry is officially taking names.

It's designed to give unmarried couples a legal record of their relationship, making it easier for others, like employers or hospitals, to grant benefits and privileges typically available only to families or married couples.

Councilmember Chris Seelbach spearheaded the project and says it's a "very simple way to hopefully help more people be recognized as couples in the City of Cincinnati and in turn leverage health care for one another through their private employer."

On Thursday, Walnut Hills residents Ethan Fletcher and Andrew Hickam became the first couple to sign up. They're also one of the couples suing Ohio in federal court for the right to marry.

"We're excited that this is actually going to be the first legal document affirming our commitment to each other in a domestic partnership," says Hickam. "This is a great step towards the wonderful fight that we've all been fighting to eventually get... the right to marry here in Ohio."

John Boggess with Equality Ohio says Cincinnati is now the tenth city in Ohio to create a domestic partner registry. "It's all over the map," he says. "It's places like Athens and Yellow Springs, Toledo, Dayton, and now the third "C" in addition to Columbus and Cleveland."

The registration cost is $45. Seelbach says that makes the registry budget neutral for the city.