Lambda Legal Lauds Ohio Supreme Court Decision Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence
(New York, July 25, 2007) — Today, Lambda Legal lauds the Ohio Supreme Court's decision that Ohio's criminal domestic violence law is unaffected by Ohio's antigay constitutional amendment.
"We are thrilled that the Court did not take the bait, and came to the obvious and correct conclusion that this amendment has no effect on the state's domestic violence law. This ruling protects unmarried people across the state from being abused in their own homes," said James P. Madigan, Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal's Midwest Regional Office in Chicago. "The decision makes clear that Ohio's antigay amendment cannot be used to attack individual benefits and protections currently enjoyed by unmarried persons. This decision sends a strong message to those who would attempt to use the amendment to attack health insurance benefits for families, or the relationships between children and their same-sex parents: you can't get away with this."
The case was on appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court after the court of appeals reversed the decision of the trial court, which had found that Ohio's antigay amendment invalidated domestic violence statute as it related to unmarried couples. In effect, the trial court rulings reduced what would have been felony domestic violence charges to misdemeanors. Lambda Legal filed friend-of-the-court briefs in the courts of appeals in this case and before appellate courts in a number of different cases, arguing that the plain language of the amendment does not reach Ohio's domestic violence law, which brings married and unmarried people who live or lived with someone who abused them within its protection.
The case is State of Ohio v. Carswell. Lambda Legal also submitted friend-of-the-court briefs in Ohio v. Burk, City of Cleveland v. Voies, Ohio v. Steineman, Ohio v. Rodgers, Ohio v. Nixon and Ohio v. McIntosh.
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Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.