WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 21, 2010, 03:33 PM

Ordinance proposed to legally recognize domestic partnerships

Moorhead, Minn. (WDAY TV) - Moorhead may be the next stop for same sex couples who want their partnership legally recognized. A city proposed ordinance allows any couple meeting certain criteria to have their domestic partnership registered with Moorhead government.

Priding itself in being an inclusive community, Moorhead has a big opportunity to show it. If it passes an ordinance to recognize domestic partnerships, it would be only the fourth Minnesota city to do so.

Josh Boschee/Pride Collective and Community Center: “Moving Minnesota forward, and the U.S. by recognizing more than just one man and woman.”

Surprisingly, two people fighting for the right to recognize their union are a man and a woman. Tina Penn and Art Balli are both disabled. If they were to get married, their disability income would shrink and the paperwork and red tape would increase.

Tina: “Discourages marriage, why make harder for disabled people in a world already not fit for us.”

Art suffers from a brain injury.

Art: “She's everything to me.”

Tina, who's legally blind, fears she'll be caught in a life and death situation for him with no control.

Tina: “There's a lot of stress.”

They professed their love through a ceremony and rings, but would like the option of some legal recognition.

Tina: “Spiritual. Why do they have the right to tell you as long as you're consenting adults?”

Art: “She's my wife and I love her very much.”

The city council and public will have their say at Monday night's meeting. Other Minnesota cities that have this domestic partnership registry are Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth. Edina is currently discussing it. Boschee (Boshay) says if it passes in Moorhead, activists who helped develop this ordinance may try and present it in Fargo.