Progressive. Queer. Feminist. Opinionated.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Cleveland Heights Gay Partner Registry still alive

Well, I'll be damned.

A few years ago, Cleveland Heights worked to get more rights for gay couples in the form of a domestic partner registry (the rights include employment benefits, property inheritance or hospital visiting rights). This was, by and large, a movement organized by the people. My best friend helped collect signatures, and the people got this to the point at which it could be voted on. It passed, gay couples had more rights, and we were happy.

Shortly after, Ohio passed one of the strictest constitutional amendments on banning gay marriage. I assumed that the registry was done for, and my friend (the one who worked on it) said that they didn't know yet, but things didn't look good.

Look at this:

(Cleveland, Ohio) An appeals court has ruled that a domestic partner registry in Cleveland Heights does not violate the state's constitution.

The initiative creating the registry passed with 55 percent of the vote in November 2003.

Jimmie Hicks Jr., a conservative member of the city council went to court in 2004, to fight the registry saying the registry goes beyond the municipality's its authority in the home-rule powers of the Ohio Constitution.

Hicks was represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, a national Christian law practice that is fighting gay rights in a number of states.

The registry's recognition is not binding on courts, governments or employers. But supporters said it would make it easier for couples to share employment benefits, inherit property or get hospital visiting rights.

In May last year a judge dismissed Hick's case saying the registry confers no legal status on the couples and is not in conflict with the state constitution. (story)

Hick appealed the ruling. A three-judge panel of the 8th Ohio District Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the lower court ruling.

Hicks has 45 days to appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court. Earlier this year he indicated he was prepared to fight all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Last November Ohio was one of 11 states that passed constitutional amendments banning gay marriage and civil unions. Hicks suggested that the argument at the Supreme Court would focus on the amendment. (link)

It's still alive. I almost can't believe this. But it's still alive and being kept alive. I do believe I can say this and fully mean it: hot damn!


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