Gay rights icon, UC grad Obergefell running for Ohio House

Former Cincinnati resident hoping to represent Sandusky
Hillary Clinton praises Jim Obergefell on ruling's anniversary
Posted at 7:59 AM, Jan 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-18 08:23:48-05

SANDUSKY, Ohio — Jim Obergefell, whose lawsuit led to the U.S. Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage nationally in 2015, announced he's running for the Ohio State House on Tuesday.

Obergefell, who is a University of Cincinnati graduate and a former longtime Cincinnati resident, said he is running to represent Erie and Ottawa counties, which is where his hometown of Sandusky is located. His office confirmed he would be running as a Democrat.

In a press release, Obergefell pushed investment in Lake Erie and would create a bipartisan Lake Erie caucus in the Statehouse. He also pushed his record fighting for civil rights as an asset to improving jobs and healthcare.

"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 in the release. "You deserve a representative who does the right thing no matter what."

Obergefell was the main party in the historic Obergefell vs. Hodges lawsuit that was brought before the Supreme Court in 2015. Obergefell and his partner Jim Arthur were married in Maryland in 2013 while Arthur was dying of ALS. Due to Ohio's same-sex marriage ban, Obergefell could not be listed as Arthur's surviving spouse on his death certificate in Ohio.

The couple met and lived in Cincinnati during their 20 years together and when Arthur died in 2013. According to the Washington Post, Obergefell and Arthur had met at Uncle Woody's Pub on Calhoun Street near the UC campus during the 1990s. After Arthur was diagnosed with ALS in 2011, they moved into a one-level condo in Over-The-Rhine.

In 2020, Obergefell and his opponent in his Supreme Court case, Richard Hodges (former director of the Ohio Department of Health), wrote an op-ed together for CNN announcing they had become friends and were both endorsing Joe Biden for president.

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