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Group files for dismissal of Brinkman lawsuit

Published: Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Updated: Sunday, February 14, 2010 23:02

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Brinkman

Whether or not a motion filed by Lambda Legal, a national civil rights organization, will result in the dismissal of the Brinkman v. Miami University case remains to be seen.

The organization filed the motion on behalf of Miami professors Jean Lynch and Yvonne Keller July 14, requesting that the Butler County Court of Common Pleas dismiss the lawsuit against Miami, on the claim that it has no legal standing.

Lambda Legal could not be reached for comment.

Ohio legislator Tom Brinkman (R-Cincinnati) filed the lawsuit along with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a group that defines its purpose as the defense of religious liberty. The lawsuit claims Miami's domestic partner benefits policy violates Ohio's constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman by offering same-sex couples the benefits that married couples receive.

The brief, which can be accessed at www.lambdalegal.org, claims Brinkman has no legal standing in this matter because domestic partner benefits are paid for with privately donated funds and not with tax dollars or tuition. This brief goes on to explain that Brinkman has not shown any suffering on his part that could be corrected should Miami change their policy.

Lambda Legal is dedicated to the idea of civil rights for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV. The group has been working on the Brinkman case since December 2005 when their request to intervene on behalf of the professors was granted. This was allowed due to the great impact the lawsuit may have.

If Brinkman and ADF win their suit, Miami staff who benefit from the domestic partner policy will be denied their medical and dental coverage. This also means Lynch and Keller will lose their benefits for both themselves and their partners.

This case has been ongoing since November 2005. Many at Miami have come out in support of the professors and Lambda Legal's actions. Leslie Morrow, interim coordinator of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues, believes the motion to drop the suit altogether is a good move.

"This case was served without legal merit and taxpayer's money should not be wasted on it," Morrow said.

Morrow said she believes this suit is an attack on individual identities and remains very much in favor of the case being dropped.

Richard Little, director of university communications said progress on the case will be made next month.

"Arguments before a judge will occur next month, but as of right now, the decision is still a question," Little said.

Little agreed that Brinkman is in no way affected by this matter and is also in full support of the motion to dismiss the case.

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