Jim Obergefell announces he’s running for the Ohio house

Jim Obergefell, who was the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that paved the way for marriage equality in the USA, has announced a move into politics.

Obergefell, a Democrat, has announced he’ll be running for a seat in the Ohio legislature saying he want Ohio to be a place where people have equal opportunity.

After living most of his adult life in Cincinnati and the state’s capital Columbus, Obergefell moved back to his home town of Sandusky in 2021 to be closer to family members. The seat is running for, which includes his home town, has been held by the Republican Party for the last eight years.

Announcing his candidacy Obergefell told the media that he had already proven he is up for a fight as the underdog.

“I think I’ve proven with my fight for marriage equality that I don’t mind being an underdog,” he said.

Increasing the number of jobs available in Northern Ohio and protecting the iconic Lake Eyrie were two items he listed as his priorities if elected to the state’s General Assembly. Obergefell said too many people were being forced to leave the region simply because there were not enough employment opportunities.

“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 we care about,” Obergefell said.

Obergefell developed an international profile through a discrimination court case relating to the death of his husband John Arthur. In 2013, while Arthur was battling a terminal illness, the couple travelled to neighbouring Maryland to wed. When he passed away a short time later Ohio refused to listed Obergefell as his spouse on the death certificate.

The following legal battle over the issue sparked a journey that worked it’s way through the US court system until finally in 2015 a series of cases was heard by the US Supreme Court. As Obergefell’s case against the state of Ohio was the first one listed, the landmark decision that paved the way for marriage equality in the USA is known as Obergefell vs Hodges.

As people celebrated on the steps of the Supreme Court, Jim Obergefell received a call from US President Barack Obama who praised the activist for his leadership saying it had changed the country for the better. Obergefell chatted to OUTinPerth about that moment back in 2016, later in the year he visited Perth and appeared at PRIDEfest.