Lambda Legal Declares Victory Again: Miami University Employees Keep Domestic Partner Benefits
(Oxford, OH, August 28, 2007) --- The Court of Appeals of Ohio has affirmed a lower court ruling which dismissed a lawsuit brought by a legislator seeking to take away the domestic partner benefits of employees of Miami University.
"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," said James P. Madigan, Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal's Midwest Regional Office in Chicago. "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."
In July, Lambda Legal argued before the court 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.
The court's unanimous decision says, "We conclude that Brinkman's status as an Ohio taxpayer does not give him standing to challenge the university's policy of providing health insurance benefits to same-sex domestic partners of its employees."
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.
Lisa Hardaway 212-809-8585 ext.266; Email: [email protected]
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.