Editor's Note: With 2011 winding down, we're using this last week of the year to look back at the five stories that shaped St. Louis Park over the past 12 months and had people talking. Today, we look at story No. 3—the institution of a domestic partner registry. Look for story No. 2 tomorrow.
The Jan. 3, 2011, St. Louis Park City Council meeting was as emotional of a council meeting as you're likely to find. Tears of joy and loud applause filled the council chambers after one simple vote.
That vote, which was unanimous, in St. Louis Park. This allows domestic partners in different-sex and same-sex relationships to register their relationships with the city.
While the ordinance doesn't supersede any state or federal laws, nor did it grant local gay and lesbian couples any new legal rights when it passed, it was still hailed as a big step forward by gay rights advocates.
"I would say this is a very powerful, symbolic move council has made," said Curt Peterson, who was at the meeting with his partner of eight years, Mike Skarp.
St. Louis Park became the eighth city in the state to pass such an ordinance, according to advocacy group OutFront Minnesota. That number has since doubled, and OutFront is pushing more cities to join the movement.
“The more conversations we have about the place of same-sex couples, the more people can realize that including them fully is the way to go,” said Phil Duran, OutFront’s legal director.