Database of the Day: Domestic Partnership Registry

The recent California Supreme Court decision overturning California’s law banning same-sex marriage as unconstitutional provides a timely discussion of the domestic partnership registry. California, among other states and municipalities provides a means for couples — variously, same or opposite sex in civil unions or domestic partnerships — to register their relationship.

I don’t know of any online database of names of registered domestic partners, but there are data sources. This is the old-fashioned and still often the most reliable means of confirming a fact: call or visit the relevant government office! In California, the Secretary of State records the Declaration of Domestic Partnership and the Termination of Domestic Partnership. This office responds to telephone inquiries and will search by a name, providing the partner name, date of registration and the residential address. You can also go to one of the offices to get a copy of either form.

Oregon defines a domestic partnership registration as a vital record, which is confidential. Domestic Partnership Registration in New York City is with the City Clerk. County Recorder offices and state health departments are also repositories for these filings. Some cities, counties and states that have civil union or domestic partnership laws are listed here.

Currently, there are 49,550 registrations on file at the California Secretary of State. Of these, about 5,600 have filed terminations. By law, this office only accepts terminations up to 5 years after registration. Beyond that time, couples must go to court to end a domestic partnership.

What has been your experience requesting information from a domestic partnership registry?

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