Missoula County Coverage

Oct 2, 2013 8:32 AM by Jacqueline Quynh - KPAX News

Missoula gay couples can now register for domestic partnerships

MISSOULA - Folks involved in same sex relationships can now sign up for Missoula domestic partnership registry, and there may be a couple reasons why gay or straight couples may want to consider signing up.

"One of the first contacts...we had about the domestic partnership registry was actually from a opposite sex couple who were interested - one of their employers offered health benefits," Missoula City Clerk Marty Rehbein observed.

The domestic partnership registry is still brand new to Missoula - so new that the first card hasn't been printed yet.

The aim is to give couples some relationship recognition outside of marriage - an issue that's important to openly gay people like Missoula Councilwoman Caitlin Copple.

"I really want to be able to stay in Montana, and to live an open honest, authentic life, in the town and the state that I love," Copple said.

Gay marriage is prohibited in Montana, and the registry serves to at least symbolically recognize same sex unions.

"Of course employers don't have to recognize it," Rehbein said.

Once registered a couple will get a registry certificate, and laminated cards, and these might be useful in case of an accident. The hope is the cards may allow partners to help during a medical emergencies.

"We are requiring that folks have it notarized because it's an affidavit," Rehbein said.

The registry also requires that one person in the relationship live in Montana, both parties be at least 18 years of age, and that the couple intends to live together permanently.

City officials say the cost to register currently is free, but if the volume picks up, that could change.

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