Oestreich suggested the idea is to help individuals in a variety of different situations register with the city as a committed relationship. Registering their relationship with the city would give them a legal document proving they are in a committed relationship, she said.
“This makes it easier for interdependent couples to secure benefits from the county, or partner benefits if offered by their current place of employment,” Oestreich wrote in a letter to the council.
Although the registry would make it easier for businesses to determine eligibility for benefits, employers would not be required to provide benefits to registered partners, she said.
In addition to being beneficial to same sex couples, the registry can also be used by people who are caring for their elderly parents, or parents who may be caring for dependent adult children, Oestreich said.
The registry would also ensure visitation rights at hospitals, she said.
“That’s been one of my biggest fears as I grow older – having someone be able to visit me when I’m in the hospital without some sort of guideline that would allow them access,” Oestreich said.
A similar registry was implemented in Salt Lake City in 2008. Oestreich said Salt Lake County adopted the process earlier this spring. While around 45 applications were recorded the first year, Oestreich said the number now averages around 12 to 15 each year in Salt Lake County.
The Salt Lake County registry requires that applicants be adults who share a residence and are dependent upon one another. Applicants also must show several documents proving that status, such as loan papers with both parties listed, or proof of joint bank or credit accounts.
“It’s basically a list that people can get on by bringing in these documents,” Moab City Manger Donna Metzler said.
Oestreich said that once listed on the registry, members would be responsible for removing themselves if situations change.
The Moab City Council has not taken any action on the registry, but will consider it at a future meeting.