Jim Obergefell has announced his plans to run for a seat in the Ohio House.
The named lead plaintiff in the 2015 landmark case that brought marriage equality to the nation held a news conference on Tuesday morning declaring his intentions to run as a Democrat for the 89th House District representing Erie and Ottowa counties, currently held by Republican D.J. Swearingen.
“We should all be able to participate fully in society and the economy, living in strong communities with great public schools, access to quality healthcare, and with well-paying jobs that allow us to stay in the community we love with the family and people we care about,” Obergefell said.
If elected, Obergefell would become the only out gay male state representative and only the 2nd out LGBTQ+ Ohio State legislator currently serving, joining Senator Nickie Antonio.
“I championed the American ideals of equal justice under law, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and we the people. Simply put, I advocate for what is right and just,” Obergefell said.
In 2013, Obergefell filed a lawsuit challenging Ohio’s ban on same-sex marriage after the state refused to put his name on the death certificate of his husband, John Arthur. Their case was combined with lawsuits filed by 32 couples, children, and widowers in four states. As Obergefell’s lawsuit had the lowest case number, his name was listed first, forever enshrining the case as Obergefell v. Hodges (Richard Hodges was the Director of the Ohio Department of Health that oversaw death certificates).
The Supreme Court ruled on June 26, 2015 that the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution granted same-sex couples the fundamental right to marry.
“For me, a big part of coming back to Ohio and making this decision is to help make Ohio a state where people feel safe, where people feel protected, where they feel they have equal opportunity,” Obergefell said. “If someone in California receives an Ohio job offer, I don’t want them to think, ‘Can I move to Ohio because I happen to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Will I lose my job? Will I lose my apartment? Will I just lack some of those protections?’ You can be certain I will be a proponent of the Ohio Fairness Act to make sure Ohio is a state that works for everyone.”
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