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Tomorrow, the City of Buffalo will initiate (finally) a Domestic Partner Registry!

What does this mean? According to Kitty Lambert (OUTSpoken for Equality) it’s a great step, but at the same time it’s not enough. And why is it not enough? Because there are still politicians who continue to deny equal rights to the LGBT community. From Kitty:

First, I want to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of both Councilman Rivera and Councilman LoCurto. Progress in our city has been slow and arduous.

We are the LAST major municipality to have this benefit offered to it’s employees in NY State.

Initially it was just the registry that had been approved, but now the benefit end of it has been passed (with one ‘NO’ vote…. Thanks Demone Smith). The benefit provision excludes opposite gender couples. The registry is open to both same and opposite gender couples.

The registry was never signed into law by the Mayor… but there were enough votes that his signature was not required. It became automatic after 30 days… tomorrow (Wed. March 31st, 2010) it begins.

The Benefit end of this does not immediately go into effect. The Mayor may, again, let the benefit package “fall” into law. If not it would go into effect when it was signed into law.

My partner, Cheryle Rudd and I are suppose to be the first to register tomorrow. I will be staying at City Hall all day to see how many people actually take advantage of the REGISTRY end of it. It will not (ever) give the two of us anything more that a $40 “note” that says we are registered as domestic partners… Cheryle finds this VERY funny as she knows that getting me to do ANYthing domestic is rare. It WILL benefit anyone who is considered a City Employee… eventually… IF they are in a same gender relationship. The Mayor feels opposite gender individuals should marry. (This makes me really glad I am gay! I would really hate to have some guy that didn’t pay my bills, or know my reasons why I can’t/won’t marry to tell me I must…. whoops, the Senate is telling me just the opposite and it’s because I AM gay!)

To register at City Hall on the 13th floor, a couple must provide $40, BOTH of their birth certificates, Social Security Cards, and Picture IDs, something that shows that they cohabit and are financially interdependent (such as a bank statement with both names on it, Utility bills with the same address on them, a landlord statement, a mortgage or rental/lease agreement).

THIS IS A LEGAL DOCUMENT. It is filed with the City and kept until the couple voids the registration.

Part of me is thrilled. But a greater part of me is saddened by the fact that this was done with a vein of discrimination and exclusion, the very thing that we as LGBT Americans are fighting.

We, in the LGBT community, do not want special treatment. We don’t want different treatment. We want to be included in the SAME laws that include STRAIGHT-SEX couples. Equally.

BRO: Here’s the list of councilmembers. You know who to thank and who to admonish. If you have two minutes to speak for your rights, or the rights of others, then by all means (I added the links), send off your approvals or disapprovals. For good measure, here’s the Mayor’s email address: Mail@ch.ci.buffalo.ny.us… if anyone has a better one, then please add it. 

Demone A. Smith – Masten District
Phone: 716-851-5145 ♦ Fax: 716-851-5443
Email: dsmith@city-buffalo.com

Richard A. Fontana – Majority Leader, Lovejoy District
Phone: 716-851-5151 ♦  Fax: (716)851-5141
E-mail: rfontana@city-buffalo.com
 
David A. Franczyk – Council President, Fillmore District
Phone: 716-851-4138 ♦ Fax: (716)851-4869
E-mail: dfranczyk@city-buffalo.com
 
David A. Rivera – President Pro-Tempore, Niagara District
Phone: 716-851-5125 ♦  Fax: 716-851-4970
Email: darivera@city-buffalo.com 
 
Micheal P. Kearns  – President Pro Tempore, South District
Phone: 716-851-5169 ♦ Fax: (716)851-4294
E-mail: mkearns@city-buffalo.com 
 
Curtis Haynes, Jr. – Ellicott District
Phone: 716-851-4980 ♦ Fax: (716)851-6576
Email: chaynes@city-buffalo.com
 
Joseph Golombek, Jr. – North District 
Phone: 716-851-5116 ♦  Fax: 716-851-5648
Email: jgolombek@city-buffalo.com 
 
Michael J. LoCurto – Delaware District
Phone: 716-851-5155 ♦ Fax: (716)851-4553
E-mail: mlocurto@city-buffalo.com 
 
Bonnie E. Russell – University District
Phone: 716-851-5165 ♦ Fax: 716-851-4580
Email: brussell@city-buffalo.com  

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