Cleveland’s DP Registry Opened Today

7 05 2009

On the steps of City Hall, same-sex couples gathered to register as partners in the City of Cleveland, making it the third Ohio municipality to grant the symbolic recognition (after Cleveland Heights and Toledo). News reports indicate that approximately 75 couples registered today.

What a beautiful thing. Check out the video below from Fox8’s coverage (if the video doesn’t work, click here for it and the news story).

And in a somewhat unexpected endorsement, the Cleveland Plain Dealer (which, I guess, isn’t all that conservative… I guess I’m just tainted by the Enquirer :-)) ran an amazing op-ed piece by columnist Regina Brett:

Those who claim the registry is only a symbol get no argument from me.

Yes, it’s a symbol. So is a cross. So is a flag. A symbol carries as much power as you give it.

Not one protester showed up, not one person jeered. One man rested his hand gently on his partner’s shoulder. Another man wrapped his arm around his lover’s waist as a rabbi told the crowd, “It is not enough to love the people who are like us.”

We must do more.

Yes, Ms. Brett, we must do more. Though I’m disappointed that we are excited by pittance and small wins, I am overwhelmed by the amazing turnout, the positive coverage, and the supporters who stood up and said, “This is right.” As far as symbols go, this is a powerful one. Ohio has one of the most constricting DOMA’s in the country — not even allowing institutions that look like marriage — so relationship recognition in the state’s second largest cities, and the most high profile of the big three (“Cleveland rocks!”), is not only a coup but a powerful statement for change and equality.

It’s time to start — slowly — welcoming Ohio into the 21st century.

And, as to be expected, the CCV sent out a nasty little call to action opposing the registry. Thanks to Wolfie at Back2Stonewall.com:

“It’s a sad day for any society when elected officials believe they are above the law,” said Miller. “The registry created by the Cleveland City Council is an obvious attempt to do exactly what the constitution says they cannot do, which is to “create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage.”

Meh. It’s to be expected, and we’ll deal with their hatred later.

For now, let’s be happy for ourselves and our state. In the last few months that we’ve seen marriage equality blossom around the country, but it’s good to remember that we still have a fight to win here, and that we, too, may win.

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