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OPINION COUNTY DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP REGISTRY A GOOD FIRST STEP EDITORIAL If one wanted to leave public service with a noble legacy that would endure long afterward, being an advocate for the equality and dignity of all citizens, regardless of station, surely would be at the top of the list. The five Sarasota County commissioners took a firm step in that direction on Nov. 6, when they voted unanimously to establish a countywide Domestic Partnership Registry. The registry, or DPR as it is most commonly known, will allow unmarried couples to visit one another in the hospital, be involved in healthcare decisions for each other and even make funeral or burial arrangements in the event of a partner's death. for the DPR, having successfully lobbied for passage of similar ordinances in the cities of Sarasota and Venice. But it was obvious to him that a countywide ordinance was necessary. At first glance, it seems to be mostly a gay rights issue, since Florida passed a constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage. However, Sarasota County is home to a large population of senior citizens, and many older couples also choose to live in intimate, committed relationships without being married. Given the statistical probability of hospitalizations and even death among older couples, the DPR will be especially important to Sarasota's senior residents. Still, at its heart, the DPR is about equality Former Sarasota City Commissioner Ken and dignity … the right of couples who might Shelin has been an indefatigable advocate not be married to participate more fully in

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