Campaign

Lead plaintiff in Supreme Court case legalizing same-sex marriage running for office in Ohio

Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the 2015 Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage in the U.S., is running for the Ohio state House. 

“I’m Jim Obergefell, and you have my promise that I will work hard every day to improve the lives of everyone in Ottawa and Erie counties and all of Ohio,” he said in a tweet on Tuesday

Obergefell will run as a Democrat in the 89th House District, which includes his hometown of Sandusky and is currently represented by Republican D.J. Swearingen. Obergefell moved back to his hometown and the district he will seek to represent last year. 

District lines could change, however, after the Ohio Supreme Court struck down the GOP-drawn state House and Senate maps. 

“Knowing of the corruption in the Ohio Statehouse and my experience fighting for others and fighting for what’s right, I just realized that I need to be part of making things better. I need to be part of fighting for everyone,” Obergefell said, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I have to be part of making things better.” 

Obergeffell was at the center of the landmark case Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Constitution guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry. His national reputation could help his campaign garner attention and raise money. 

He married John Arthur in July 2013. Though Arthur was gravely ill, the couple travelled from their home in Cincinnati to Maryland to marry because Ohio did not permit same-sex unions at the time. 

Three months later, Arthur passed away, prompting Obergefell to sue in order to be listed on the death certificate as Arthur’s husband. 

If elected, Obergefell would be the second openly gay politician in the history of Ohio’s General Assembly. Democratic state Sen. Nickie Antonio is the only current state lawmaker who is openly gay, the Enquirer noted.

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