Domestic Partnership Registry Open Today

Domestic partners in Montana now have a place to register their relationships.  In July, the Missoula City Council approved a resolution creating a Domestic Partnership Registry to support the right and dignity of unmarried couples to have their relationships recognized by the City of Missoula.

City Clerk Marty Rehbein announced the City’s registry is now open and accepting applications from same-sex and opposite-sex domestic partners in Montana.

“Missoula is a beacon of hope for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Montanans,” said Missoula City Council representative Caitlin Copple, who led the effort to establish the registry in Missoula. “We passed the first inclusive non-discrimination ordinance in 2010, and we are continuing to send the message that Missoula is a safe and welcoming place for all families with this registry.”

Cathryn Oakley, Legislative Counsel for State and Municipal Advocacy at the Human Rights Campaign, added praise for the City’s equality initiatives.

“Missoula is great example of an enlightened city, dedicated to treating its LGBT citizens with the dignity and respect they deserve,” she said.  “This is made clear by City leaders’ efforts to make laws and policies inclusive for all Missoulians.  Domestic partner registries, like the one now available to gay and lesbian couples in Missoula, offer limited but important benefits.  Missoula is once again showing why it is a leader in municipal equality.”

Applying to be included on the list is voluntary. Although it doesn’t grant any legal rights to couples, it may be useful for emergency workers or health care professionals to know whom to contact in an emergency.  Copple noted that the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy organization, has seen municipal domestic partner registries lead to statewide changes in insurance benefits and relationship recognition such as civil unions and marriage equality.

When considering whether or not to apply, couples should be aware that the official application forms and the names of partners listed on the registry are public records and may be released to a third party, if requested.

“Coming out always requires bravery, and I’m proud that Missoula is offering one more way for couples who can and want to come out,” Copple said.

To be placed on the Registry, couples must complete an official affidavit and application form swearing they meet the criteria, and sign it in front of a notary public.  Domestic partners interested in registering can learn more and find the official form online at  Forms can also be picked up at the City Clerk Office.