Foes of Cleveland's gay-inclusive domestic partnership registry have sued the city to have it closed.

The lawsuit filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court on August 12 claims the registry violates Ohio's gay marriage ban. A large majority of Ohio voters approved the 2004 constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a heterosexual union and bans the creation of similar unions.

Cincinnati attorney David R. Langdon filed the suit together with Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund attorneys on behalf of Dorothy McGuire, who represents the group Cleveland Taxpayers for the Ohio Constitution.

“Local governments should not enact laws in defiance of the state constitution,” Langdon said in a statement. “Ohio voters amended their state's constitution by an overwhelming margin in 2004, using the democratic process to affirm the long-held legal definition of marriage and eliminate any attempts at counterfeits. The City of Cleveland is attempting to skirt the clear intention of the voters.”

Despite offering no guaranteed benefits, rights or responsibilities whatsoever, the registry, which opened in May, has been under attack since it was approved by councilmembers in December of last year.

A group of mostly African-American minister led by Rev. C. Jay Matthews first declared war on the registry. The ministers attempted to stop the registry from taking effect but fell short of collecting the 11,000 signatures needed before a January 5 deadline. At the registry's opening, Matthews said he would put the ordinance up for a vote, but nothing has come of the threat.

The ministers say they oppose the registry on religious grounds. “That lifestyle goes against God,” Matthews told a Plain Dealer reporter.

ADF attorneys claim the registry violates the Ohio Constitution because it “creates the relation of 'domestic partnership' patterned after the marriage laws in Ohio.”

Langdon's involvement in Ohio's gay marriage debate includes authoring the constitutional amendment approved by voters and filing an unsuccessful legal challenge to end a similar gay-inclusive registry in suburban Cleveland Heights.

Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge Robert Glickman disagreed with Langdon's assertions that the Cleveland Heights registry violated Ohio law. Glickman's ruling, however, came before voters approved the gay marriage ban that specifically prohibits the creation of unions similar to marriage.

Cleveland Law Director Robert Triozzi has dismissed the suit.

“We believe the lawsuit does not have merit and we'll defend ourselves against it,” he told gay publication the Gay People's Chronicle.