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Live-Ins Can Now Become Domestic Partners in Seattle

September 7, 1994

SEATTLE (AP) _ Rodney Pond and Jeff Herre have been living together for two years. But Tuesday was the first day they were allowed to register their relationship.

The city’s new ordinance allows homosexual and heterosexual live-in adult couples to register as ″domestic partners.″

Seattle follows a dozen or so other cities that have similar domestic- partnership laws, including New York, Minneapolis, San Francisco and Madison, Wis.

Under the Seattle ordinance, couples pay $25 and receive a certificate from the city clerk’s office. The document provides no legal benefits and is not official acknowledgement of a gay marriage, since marriages are regulated by the state.

″It kind of validates the relationship in a very small way,″ said Herre, 35. ″It legalizes nothing, but gives the issue a little more visibility.″

It signifies ″some sort of social approval if the city represents society,″ said Pond, 27.

Outside the city clerk’s office, Tina Podlodowsky, a member of the Commission for Lesbians and Gays, served chocolate-raspberry cake to the newly registered couples.

About 90 couples, mostly homosexual, registered Tuesday, said Judith Pippin, city clerk.

One of the few opposite-sex couples waiting to register was Sheila Hargesheimer, 43, and Tom Sorenson, 38.

They said they wanted to support the concept behind the ordinance. And, they said, domestic partnership suits them better than marriage.

″It’s more comfortable for me,″ said Hargesheimer. ″It’s more of a recognition to the community as opposed to being recognized by the state.″

″We could be married in the future,″ Sorenson said. ″But at this time, this is easier.″

And should any of the relationships not work out, termination of a partnership requires only one notarized signature and costs nothing additional.

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