ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Almost 900 gay and lesbian couples in Florida have signed domestic-partnership registries pushed into law this year by gay rights activists.
Orlando's registry, launched Jan. 12, has so far been signed by 759 couples, while a registry in Orange County, adopted in July, has 134 registered couples, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
The registries grant registered couples the legal ability to visit each other in the hospital or jail, to make healthcare decisions for an incapacitated partner and to make funeral plans.
"It has been a tremendous success," Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said. "I actually did some of the registrations the very first day, and the emotion that was being felt by couples who were finally able to recognize their attachment to each other in an official manner was just about overwhelming."
Although Orlando's gay-rights community was the driving force behind the registries, they are not limited to gay couples; unmarried heterosexual couples can also sign up.