TAMPA - More than 450 unmarried couples have signed up as domestic partners in the year since the Tampa City Council created a registry for them.
The vast majority of the registry's members are same-sex couples, including some, like Sally Phillips and Ercilia Arbistu, who live outside the city in Hillsborough County.
"We feel good to have the opportunity to be on the registry, but certainly want the county to enact one," Phillips said Tuesday.
Tampa's registry gives unmarried couples some of the protections afforded to their married counterparts. Those include making life-and-death decisions for each other, visiting each other in the hospital and making decisions about the lives of the children they share.
City Councilwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin proposed the registry last year in honor of her newborn grandson. At the time, she said she hoped it would make Tampa a place he would be proud to grow up in.
Soon after Tampa passed it registry, St. Petersburg and a variety of communities in Pinellas County followed suit.
"It's very important for us to set the standard and take the lead," Capin said Tuesday.
Mayor Bob Buckhorn sees the registry as an economic tool the city can use to promote the region as welcoming to a diverse group of people.
"I think Tampa Bay should be known as a place that is truly open to everybody," he said.