Brinkman V. Miami University - Background

Background

Miami began offering benefits, including health and dental insurance, ticket discounts and tuition remission to same-sex domestic partners of faculty and staff members in July 2004. In November 2004, Ohio voters passed the state Ohio State Issue 1, an amendment to the Ohio Constitution that banned recognition of same-sex unions "in... this state and its political subdivisions."

Brinkman filed a lawsuit in the Court of Common Pleas of Butler County. Brinkman argued that Miami's offering of benefits to domestic partners of its employees "created and recognized a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage."

David Langdon, a conservative activist who wrote language for the Marriage Amendment, has stated that this is the first suit against a university's domestic partnership policy since the amendment took effect. Ohio State University, Cleveland State University, Youngstown State University and several other Ohio universities also offer domestic partner benefits but are not named in the suit.

The suit was dismissed in November 2006. Brinkman appealed, and in 2007 the Ohio Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal. Brinkman did not appeal the case to the Ohio Supreme Court.

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