The Tucson Domestic Partnership (DP) Ordinance is a city law enacted September 15, 2003 and effective December 1, 2003, that provides a registry for domestic partners who wish to register. This is a means by which unmarried couples who share a relationship of mutual support, caring and commitment may document their relationship. This is the first domestic partner registry law in the State of Arizona.
Effective June 19, 2013 the ordinance was changed to the “Tucson Civil Union Ordinance.” The civil union partners may provide a statement or list describing any additional documents, such as contracts and agreements that document the rights, responsibilities and obligations that the civil union partners have established. In order to prevent public access to private, personal information, civil union partners may not submit, and the City will not maintain, the contracts and agreements themselves. The statement of documents may include a description of agreements between the parties including:
- Agreements between the parties regarding the management and ownership of real and personal property.
- Agreements between the parties regarding the obligations that either or both may have agreed to assume regarding the existing children or other family members of one or both of the parties.
- Agreements between the parties regarding the obligations that either or both may have agreed to assume regarding prospective children of one or both of the parties.
- Agreements between the parties regarding the disposition of their property upon the death of either party.
- Agreements for resolving any disputes that may arise should the relationship dissolve, through alternative dispute resolution procedures or otherwise.
- Documents that establish any other rights or obligations that may be legally exchanged by and between the parties.
Who are civil union partners?
Civil Union partners are two people who sign a statement affirming that they:
- are not related by blood closer than would bar marriage in the State of Arizona;
- are not married to another person in a marriage expressly recognized by the State of Arizona or in any domestic partnership and/or civil union with another person;
- are both 18 years of age or older;
- are both competent to enter into a contract;
- both declare that they are each other's sole civil union partner;
- both currently share a primary residence, are in a relationship of mutual support, and declare that they intend to remain in such for the indefinite future.
Is registration limited to gay or lesbian individuals?
No. The language of the ordinance is gender-neutral. Any individuals who meet the above qualifications may register a civil union.
How to register
Registrants may go to City Hall to register in person, or may mail in their registration form to: City of Tucson, Finance Department, Attn: CU Registration, P.O. Box 27210, Tucson AZ 85726. The registration form is available at the link at the bottom of this page, it may be picked up in person at City Hall at the first floor Business License windows, or may be obtained by calling the Finance Department at: (520) 791-4566. Each registrant must sign the registration form before a notary public. Registrants who turn in their properly attested registration statement in person at City Hall will receive two copies of the certificate of registration in person. Registrants who mail in their properly attested registration statement will receive two copies of the certificate of registration by mail.
The cost of registering a civil union is $50.00. The cost for terminating a civil union registration, or to obtain an additional copy of the certificate of registration is $10.00. Checks should be made payable to the "City of Tucson".
If we are already registered with the Domestic Partnership Registry, do we need to reapply for the Civil Union Registry?
No, those actively registered with the Domestic Partnership Registry are now considered registered with the Civil Union Registry.
We are already registered with the City’s Domestic Partnership Registry. Can we get a new certificate stating Civil Union?
Yes, you can get two certificates stating Civil Union at no additional cost. To request Civil Union Certificates, please send an email to Tax-License@tucsonaz.gov stating the certificate number, names of the partners and the current mailing address. You can also complete the Statement of Shared Intentions of Civil Union Partners and/or List of Documents Establishing Rights and Obligations between Civil Union Partners. Please send the form(s) to the City of Tucson, Finance Department, Attn: CU Registration, P.O. Box 27210, Tucson AZ 85726 or email to Tax-License@tucsonaz.gov.
Do we have to be residents of the City of Tucson in order to register as civil union partners?
No. Under this ordinance there is no requirement for residency within the city limits of Tucson.
Can anyone look up information, including address information, on who is registered as a civil union partner?
Yes. City records are open for review. However, the ordinance provides only that registrants list a mailing address, which may include an address c/o another person or a post office box, and thus registrants do not have to provide their home address.
What sort of legal rights and responsibilities will a civil union partner get in relation to his or her partner?
The ordinance lists two rights or benefits for registered partners in the City of Tucson: (1) a right to visitation of one's partner in a health care facility, as long as the patient consents; and (2) extending use of and access to city facilities to a registered civil union partner as if the civil union partner were a spouse.
How do we/I terminate a civil union registration?
Please complete the Domestic Partner/Civil Union Termination Statement form (a PDF version may be downloaded below) and return with a check or money order for the $10.00 termination fee. The termination statement requires the signature of only one of the civil union partners, but must still be notarized.
Because Tucson's Civil Union Ordinance is a city law, it cannot address or create rights, privileges, or responsibilities that might be available to spouses or partners under state or federal law.
Civil Union registration is voluntary. The City of Tucson cannot provide any legal advice concerning civil unions. Applicants may wish to consult with an attorney for such advice. Partners should consult an attorney and/or make arrangements for a number of important matters, including but not limited to:
- medical matters
- finances and powers of attorney
- children and dependents
- medical and health care employment benefits