Osceola County to consider domestic partnership registry

Osceola County to consider domestic partnership registry

Officials at Orlando Regional Medical Center — where many victims of the Pulse shooting were treated — refused to disclose medical information to the gay partners of some of those wounded in the attack, according to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.

The hospital cited the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, as the reason. HIPAA is a 1996 law designed to protect citizens’ rights to privacy about their medical information.

If those partners seeking information were married or registered in Orange County’s domestic partnership database, they would have been able to see their significant others and receive updates on their conditions. Now, Osceola County is drawing up a plan to instate their own domestic partnership registry.

“If something were to happen in Osceola, we don’t have a [registry] here,” says Osceola County Commissioner Cheryl Grieb. “So if there was a situation where someone was in the hospital and they were not married or blood relatives, they would not be able to see their partner.”

Grieb says the other four commissioners agreed to have staffers investigate what the registry would look like. The proposal hasn’t been finalized or released yet.

Grieb clarified that the registry isn’t just for gay and lesbian couples.

“It’s for any couple who is not married,” she said. “There are a lot of reasons people wouldn’t marry. It’s not for me to judge their choice. I can’t imagine that someone who considers themselves having a committed partner, [that] something would happen to them and you wouldn’t be able to see them in the hospital [or] make decisions on their behalf. That would be catastrophic. That would make the situation twice as bad.”

Grieb is very optimistic that once an official proposal emerges, it will pass.

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