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Lambda Legal files brief in defense of Cleveland domestic partner registry

CLEVELAND – Lambda Legal filed a friend-of-the-court brief today in support of the city of Cleveland in a lawsuit brought by an anti-gay group attempting to strip away the newly enacted domestic partnership registry for same-sex couples and their families.

The brief was filed in the Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth Appellate District.

"To suggest to same-sex couples and their families that a domestic partnership registry somehow resembles marriage is preposterous. The domestic partnership law in Cleveland and the state constitutional amendment barring same-sex couples from marriage are not in conflict with each other," said Christopher Clark, senior staff attorney in Lambda Legal's Midwest Regional Office based in Chicago.

"We hope this court will rule as other courts across the country have ruled and dismiss this mean-spirited attack on same-sex couples and their families."

The state passed a constitutional amendment in 2004 that prohibits marriage for same-sex couples in Ohio and bars recognition of any legal status that approximates marriage. Last year, the Cleveland City Council voted to create a registry for same-sex couples. It is believed that many employers use this registry as a basis for determining eligibility for health insurance and other company benefits provided to domestic partners.

Alliance Defense Fund, an anti-gay legal group, filed a lawsuit against the city arguing that the domestic partnership registry is a violation of the constitutional amendment barring marriage equality. The suit was filed on Aug. 12 on behalf of the anti-gay group Cleveland Taxpayers for the Ohio Constitution.

Lambda Legal argues in the amicus brief that the Ohio constitution does not prevent the city of Cleveland from having a domestic partnership registry. Although domestic partnership registries are created by cities and other governmental entities to show their commitment to equality for same-sex couples and their families, the registries are by no means a substitute for marriage.

The case is City of Cleveland ex rel. Cleveland Taxpayers for the Ohio Constitution, et al. v. City of Cleveland .