St. Petersburg, Florida -- Unmarried couples who live together and consider each other immediate family are now able register as domestic partners in St. Petersburg.
Within the first half hour, more than 20 couples signed up to register at City Hall.
"Any time our city can give our citizens more rights, it's a great day," said St. Petersburg City Councilman Steve Kornell. He and his partner Bobby Poth were the first to register this morning.
"Giving people more rights is never a bad thing ever can that be negative for a city, it doesn't hurt anybody it only enhances a city," said Kornell.
The city council passed the Domestic Partnership Registry unanimously.
Photo Gallery: Couples register as domestic partners
The registry allow the partners to make medical, funeral and burial decisions for the other. It also gives the domestic partner the same rights as a parent in the education of their partner's dependent.
"This is fantastic. I know for a lot of people, this is the first time their relationship has been recognized," said Nadine Smith who registered today with her partner Andrea. Smith is also the head of Equality Florida.
The couple, who married in Vermont, brought their young son Logan along for this morning's milestone moment.
"We need to be seen as a family and there's challenges to that, but this really helps," said Andrea Smith.
While most couples who registered today were same sex couples, there are those who are signing up because marriage simply isn't for them.
But, they still want the right to have their partner make decisions in the event they are incapacitated.
"If anything happens to me, for example, I don't have any family in the United States so what am I going to do and I know I have someone I can trust and who can take care of me should that case ever occur," said Sunje Schwarz who registered with her partner of 3 years, Curtis Marsh.
"It's important, it's really important. Now I have family again," smiled Schwarz.
People can register at the City Clerk's office today from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.. After today, people can register Monday-Wednesday from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.. Appointments will not be available on Thursdays and Fridays.
Click: St. Petersburg Domestic Partnership Registry
The city is anticipating a busy morning, so people are encouraged to call ahead and make an appointment at 727-893-7448.
There is a $30 registration fee.
St. Petersburg joins Tampa, Orlando, Clearwater and Gulfport in having a domestic partnership registry. Sarasota, Largo and Pinellas County are among the local governments considering a domestic partnership registry in our area.
The requirements include:
-Each person must be at least 18 years old
-Neither can be married or a partner in another domestic partnership
-The partners are not related by blood
-Each considers the other to be immediate family
-Partners must reside in the same residence
-Each partner must expressly declare intent to name partner as their healthcare surrogate