City of Johnstown recognizes domestic partnerships

By Andrew Waite/The Leader-Herald

JOHNSTOWN – Domestic partnerships, including those by same-sex couples, are now recognized by the city of Johnstown. That’s after the Johnstown Common Council unanimously approved an ordinance Monday night, amending Chapter 11, section IX. The ordinance was up for public hearing, but it received no public discussion on Monday.

The vote extends the benefits of marriage to those who meet the qualifications for domestic partnership, establishing “a mechanism for the public expression and documentation of commitment reflected by the domestic partnership whose members cannot or choose not to marry.”

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The ordinance lays out the ground rules for filing for a domestic partnership, including at least one member of the party being a resident or employee of the city of Johnstown, and proof of financial interdependence, such as a shared residence or joint bank account. The ordinance is not meant to supersede any federal or state laws, statutes or regulations.

After the meeting, Mayor Vernon Jackson and Council Member-at-Large Craig Talarico described the ordinance as routine business, with Talarico saying there was “no friction.”

The council also unanimously amended articles 4 and 7 of the city’s charter to allow the city to hire a new deputy city treasurer who lives outside the city of Johnstown. Mayor Jackson said the city is “allowed to do it,” explaining the city has the right to hire employees it wishes to hire, even if they aren’t city residents. This vote, which was also up for public hearing, garnered no public discussion on Monday.

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