Published: Jan 12, 2012 6:18 PM EST

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Orlando is becoming the first central Florida city to have a domestic partners registry.
The city of Orlando on Thursday joins seven other Florida municipalities, primarily in South Florida.
The registry allows same-sex and unmarried heterosexual couples to register their partnership with the city and get certain protections. Those include the right to visit each other in hospitals or make health care decisions for each other.
Advocates for the registry are hoping the county that surrounds Orlando follows suit.
But Orange County officials have no immediate plans to create a registry for county residents.
The start of the registry occurs during the same week that the online edition of The Advocate picked Orlando as the nation's second "gayest city." The gay-interest publication cited the domestic registry as a reason.

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