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
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
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.