After losing the first round of a lawsuit that aims to close Cleveland's gay-inclusive domestic partnership registry, foes return to court this week to appeal, Cleveland-based gay biweekly Gay People's Chronicle reported.

On November 11, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Joseph D. Russo tossed out a lawsuit filed in August by opponents of the registry. The lawsuit 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 – such as civil unions – in the Ohio Constitution.

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.”

The city asked the court to dismiss the suit, arguing that it was within its rights to create the registry. Russo agreed and dismissed the claim without comment.

Cleveland's domestic partnership registry, which opened last May, offers no guaranteed benefits, rights or responsibilities whatsoever and is open to both gay and straight couples. However, gay rights activists have hailed the council's creation of the registry, calling it an important first step in recognizing gay couples.

Opponents are expected to file initial briefs with the court on February 8.