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Domestic-partner rights plan passes first Dade hurdle

BY MATTHEW I. PINZUR, mpinzur@miamiherald.com

Plans to create domestic-partnership rights in Miami-Dade County passed a first test Tuesday, winning a preliminary 8-4 vote by the County Commission.

The `no' votes came from Commissioners José‚ "Pepe'' Diaz, Joe Martinez, Dorrin Rolle and Javier Souto. Commissioner Natacha Seijas was at the meeting but not on the dais for the vote.

No debate was allowed before the vote, which moves the bill to the commission's Economic Development and Human Services Committee. That group will hold a public hearing March 12 and could move along the bill for a final vote by the full commission in late March or early April.

The proposal would let nonrelated couples who live together -- gay or straight -- register with county government and receive the same hospital and jail visitation rights as married couples.

It would also allow county employees to buy health insurance through the county for their partner and their partner's children.
Similar regulations already exist in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

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