University City has become the first municipality in St. Louis County to adopt a Domestic Partnership Ordinance.
Monday night, the council voted to approve establishing a Domestic Partnership Registry in U City. Mayor Shelley Welsch said the registry will offiially open on June 1.
Councilmember Arthur Sharpe Jr. was the only councilmember to vote against the ordinance. Earlier, in the evening his wife Marian Sharpe gave an impassioned speech against the ordinance. She said she was disappointed in the council and Mayor Shelley Welsch.
Councilmember Sharpe told University City Patch that he was aware his wife was going to speak but he did not know what she was going to say.
To register a domestic partnership, two adults must share a common residence; consider each other immediate family; affirm that they share responsibility for each other’s common welfare; not be married to a third party; not be part of an existing Domestic Partnership with any third party; and be eighteen (18) years of age or older.
The cost to register a partnership will be $45.00 dollars.
Mayor Shelley Welsch and Councilmember Terry Crow both worked on the ordinance and brought it jointly to the the City Council.
Councilmember Crow, who has two children with his longtime partner called it "a great night."
"The number of our University City residents who spoke in favor I thought was absolutely incredible and I thought the comments from my colleagues on the council were truly heartwarming."
As for the handful of people who spoke in opposition to the ordinance, including Councilmember Sharpe's wife, Councilmember Crow said everyone is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs.
St. Louis City, Kansas City and Columbia also have Domestic Partnership registries.
However, U City's ordinance is essentially a symbolic gesture as it would not be legally binding outside of U City. Also, under Missouri law, same sex marriages are prohibited. The state recognizes marriage only between a man and a woman. The state statute on marriage and marriage contracts says that "A marriage between persons of the same sex will not be recognized for any purpose in this state even when valid where contracted."