Lambda Legal Declares Victory: Miami University Employees Keep Domestic Partner Benefits
(Oxford, OH, November 20, 2006) — In response to papers filed by Lambda Legal, the Butler County Court of Common Pleas today dismissed a lawsuit brought by a legislator seeking to take away the domestic partner benefits of employees of Miami University.
“The court has affirmed that Mr. Brinkman’s daily life is unaffected when the domestic partners of lesbian and gay university employees have health insurance and he therefore has no standing to bring a lawsuit,” said James P. Madigan, Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal’s Midwest Regional Office in Chicago. “Lesbian and gay employees and their families’ health were at stake and today the court has granted them freedom from being a pawn in politically motivated lawsuits.”
In July, Lambda Legal filed briefs arguing that Brinkman had no standing to sue, because the University pays for its domestic partner benefits with privately donated funds, not with tax dollars or tuition. He also had not shown that he suffered any direct impact that would be corrected if Miami University took away the health and dental insurance it currently offers to the domestic partners of university employees.
Quote from Judge’s Decision: “Brinkman has not shown the kind of individual, concrete damages required to have taxpayer standing, nor can those damages be presumed.”
In December 2005, Lambda Legal intervened on behalf of Professors Jean Lynch and Yvonne Keller, after the domestic partner benefits offered by their employer, Miami University, came under attack by the antigay Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) along with Ohio legislator Thomas Brinkman. The lawsuit against the university claimed that its domestic partner benefits violate Ohio’s antigay constitutional amendment, which limits marriage to a man and a woman. Lambda Legal argued that Ohio’s constitutional amendment does not apply to the university because it concerns only marriage and does not address the legality of domestic partnership benefits.
The case is Brinkman v. Miami University.
James P. Madigan, Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal’s Midwest Regional Office in Chicago is handling the case with co-counsel, Alphonse Gerhardstein and Jennifer Branch of Gerhardstein, Branch & Laufman in Cincinnati, OH.
Jackie Yodashkin 212-809-8585 ext.229
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.