Conservative town of Tavares can pass a Domestic Partnership Registry but not Hillsborough?

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On Wednesday evening, the city of Tavares passed an ordinance allowing unmarried couples to register as domestic partners.

Tavares is in central Florida’s Lake County. That county is making news this week because the Lake County School Board initiated plans to ban all non-curricular student clubs just to prevent the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance student organization. 

Tavares joins a dozen Florida cities that have passed anti-discrimination and family recognition laws in the last year.
Yet, the passage of the registry in Tavares contrasts sharply with the failure of Hillsborough County to pursue the same protections. Hillsborough has earned a national reputation for homophobia having repealed a gay inclusive anti-discrimination law in the 90s and more recently passed the country’s only ban on gay pride.  
The adoption of Domestic Partnership Registries comes with strong broad based public support and at the urging of the business community leaders who see quality of life and fairness issues as crucial to recruiting and retaining top talent. 
For example, St. Petersburg City Councilmember Steve Kornell recently encouraged businesses unhappy with Hillsborough’s latest failure to move across the bridge. St. Petersburg and Pinellas County have both passed Domestic Partnership Registries in recent months.
Well, now the LGBT community has another area it might find more hospitable than Hillsborough County — little ol’ Tavares. 

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.