Gay, lesbian and other unmarried couples will be able to register their domestic partnerships with the city of St. Petersburg starting today.  

It is the first day the city's new ordinance on domestic partners takes effect. The registry gives them key rights when it comes to making crucial decisions for their partners.

Tampa, Orlando, Miami-Dade and Gulfport are among other cities in Florida that have registries.

The waiting list of people wanting to register with their domestic partners continue to grow in St. Petersburg, one of the last major cities in the state to register gay, lesbian and other unmarried couples.

St. Petersburg City Councilman Steve Kornell and his partner of three years, Bobby Poth, were among the first to register today.

"When you're registered as a domestic partner, you get certain rights afforded to you as a couple," Kornell said. "Things like hospital visitation rights, funeral decision rights, things like that. School decision rights if you're part of a couple that has a child, things like that."

Gay rights and more specifically, gay marriage, have taken a prominent position is this year's presidential election, with President Obama recently throwing his support behind gay marriage.

Bay News 9 Democratic Political Analyst Ana Cruz said she believes the image will remain a key one throughout the election.

"It's about time that the Democratic party addresses the need for equality across the board," Cruz said. "And for far too long gay and lesbians and transgender individuals have been discriminated against. It is only right that the democratic party address this issue."

But when it comes to supporting same-sex marriage, the partisan gap continues to widen.

A new poll by the Pew Research Center shows that 65 percent of Democrats support the issue while only 24 percent of Republicans are in favor of it.