Defendant in same-sex marriage case attends gay wedding
© Greg Nash

The defendant in last week’s landmark Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage attended a gay wedding on Thursday.

Rick Hodges, the head of Ohio's Department of Health, was the named defendant in Obergefell v Hodges.

Hodges gave a Bible reading during a wedding between two male friends in Columbus, Ohio, according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer.


“Steve’s been my friend for 25 years, and I am looking forward to celebrating with him,” Hodges said of the ceremony that saw his friends Steve George and Jeff Gatwood married.

“I love my friend,” he added.

Hodges's attendance came just six days after the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal nationwide on June 26 in Obergefell v. Hodges. The case combined six lawsuits filed by 32 couples, widowers and children in four states with gay marriage bans.

Jim Obergefell of Cincinnati – the case’s titular plaintiff – was one of several Ohio plaintiffs whose union was not initially recognized by the Buckeye State.

Last week’s historic 5-4 Supreme Court decision ensured that states must recognize all same-sex marriages nationwide under the 14th Amendment’s equal protections clause.

Gov. John Kasich (R) and his wife Karen also attended Thursday’s nuptials, the Plain Dealer reported.

Kasich is expected to join GOP’s 2016 presidential field later this month, with a launch event reportedly on July 21 from the campus of The Ohio State University, his alma mater.

The Ohio governor criticized the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling last weekend but promised he will observe the law going forward.

“I believe in traditional marriage, but the Supreme Court has ruled, and it’s the law of the land, and we’ll abide by it,” he said on June 28.

“And I think everybody needs to take a deep breath to see how this evolves,” Kasich added.

“But I know this, I mean, religious institutions, religious entities, you know, like the Catholic Church, you know, they need to be honored, as well. And I think there’s an ability to strike a balance.”

This story was updated at 6:27 p.m.