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Lawsuit brought by an antigay legal group attempting to strip away the City of Cleveland’s newly enacted domestic partnership registry for same-sex couples and their families.


In 2004, the state of Ohio passed a constitutional amendment that prohibits marriage for same-sex couples in the state and bars recognition of any legal status that “approximates” marriage. In 2009, 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.

The antigay legal group Alliance Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against the city of Cleveland, arguing that the domestic partnership registry is a violation of the antigay constitutional amendment barring marriage equality. The suit was filed in August 2009 on behalf of Dorothy McGuire, who represents the group Cleveland Taxpayers for the Ohio Constitution.

Lambda Legal entered the case in February 2010 by submitting a friend-of-the-court brief. The brief argues that the Ohio constitution does not prevent the city of Cleveland from having a domestic partnership registry. Although domestic partnership registries showcase a city’s commitment to equality for same-sex couples and their families, the registries are by no means a substitute for marriage.


  • February 2010 Lambda Legal files friend-of-the-court brief in the Ohio Court of Appeals in support of the city of Cleveland.
  • October 2010 Victory! In a unanimous decision, the Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth Appellate District, upholds a lower court’s dismissal of the lawsuit.