Lambda to Defend Chicago Domestic Partnership Ordinance on Appeal

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Tuesday, January 26: oral argument before Illinois appeals court
January 25, 1999

(CHICAGO, January 25, 1999) -- Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund said Monday that it will go to court and again defend Chicago's domestic partnership law against anti-gay extremists who already have suffered a resounding loss in trial court.

On Tuesday, January 26, Lambda and the City of Chicago will defend the lower court decision in Crawford v. City of Chicago, arguing that the Illinois Appellate Court should reject efforts by conservative ministers and others to stop the city from giving health care insurance and other essential benefits to its lesbian and gay employees and their families.

Managing Attorney Patricia M. Logue of Lambda's Midwest Regional Office said, "The city's policy to treat lesbian and gay employees with basic fairness should not be derailed by this desperate lawsuit. Chicago's benefits program follows the trend of hundreds of public and private employers, including many Fortune 500 firms offering similar benefits."

Logue, arguing on behalf of three lesbian and gay city employees Lambda represents in the case, and attorneys for the city will urge the appeals court to rebuff opponents' claims that the benefits program violates the state ban on marriages for same-sex couples.

Illinois has denied same-sex couples the freedom to marry, but has taken no position on domestic partnerships and has many laws favorable to unmarried and lesbian and gay couples.

In February, 1998, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Durkin ruled from the bench in a broad rejection of the plaintiffs' claims. That decision established that Chicago has the power to provide domestic-partner benefits to city workers, and that no Illinois law prevented the city from doing so.

The domestic partner benefits law has been in effect since May 1997, after Lambda and the city defeated plaintiffs' attempts to get a temporary injunction barring the city from extending the benefits.

Lambda's clients are Cheryl Tadin, Sandra King, and Jared Gulian. Cooperating Attorneys Tracey Kitzman and Joseph Miller of the Chicago law firm Sidley & Austin assisted in the case.

Lambda is the nation's oldest and largest legal organization serving lesbians, gay men, and people with HIV/AIDS. Founded in 1973, Lambda is headquartered in New York City and has regional offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.

    WHAT: Lambda and the City of Chicago defend the city's domestic partnership ordinance
    WHO: Lambda Managing Attorney Patricia M. Logue and attorneys for the city present oral arguments; Logue will be available to speak with reporters afterward
    WHERE: First District Appellate Court, 160 North LaSalle, Chicago
    WHEN: Tuesday, January 26, 1999, 10:00 a.m. CST (second case)

(Crawford v. City of Chicago, Case No. 1-98-0920(5))


Contact: Patricia M. Logue 312-663-4413, ext 30; Peg Byron 212-809-8585, 888-987-1984


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