City may strengthen domestic partner rights ?? and let you use the opposite-sex bathroom

City Councilmember Scott Benson (11th Ward) has introduced a series of ordinances to strengthen the rights of domestic partners.

"It makes sure that domestic partners are treated just like anyone else under discrimination laws," said Benson, calling them housekeeping measures to existing domestic partner ordinances.

The City Council's Health and Human Services Committee will hold public hearings on two ordinances, including one that would prohibit discrimination against domestic partnerships in real estate, professional organizations, public accommodation or public service, including charging different fees for married couples compared to domestic partners.

A second proposed ordinance would have the city recognize domestic partner relationships established in other jurisdictions. Domestic partners registered in New York, for instance, would not have to reregister in Minneapolis.

The Health and Human Services Committee meets Monday, Aug. 11 at 1:30 p.m. in Room 317 City Hall, 350 S. 5th St.

The City Council's Public Safety and Regulatory Services Committee will hold public hearings on two additional ordinances, one that would broaden the definition of "family" in the housing code. The current code limits the number of people living in a dwelling to five, unless they are related by blood, marriage or adoption. Benson's ordinance includes domestic partners in the definition of family.

Benson also authored an ordinance that would change city restroom regulations that prohibits people from entering a toilet designated for a person of the opposite sex. The new code would allow people to use opposite sex bathrooms, unless it is for "an indecent, immoral or unlawful purpose."

The amendment was aimed at transgendered people who self-identify as the opposite sex, Benson said.

The public safety committee meets Wednesday, Aug. 13, 1:30 p.m., Room 317 City Hall.