Gay rights icon Jim Obergefell running for the Ohio House, sources say

Gay rights icon Jim Obergefell running for the Ohio House, sources say
Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 5:00 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (Enquirer) - Gay rights icon Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the landmark 2015 case that legalized same-sex marriage across the country, is running for a seat in the Ohio House, sources close to him tell our media partners at the Enquirer.

He is scheduled to hold an online press conference at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Obergefell, a Democrat, moved back to his hometown of Sandusky in 2021, putting him in the 89th House District, currently held by Republican D.J. Swearingen.

Given his national profile, Obergefell would be well positioned to gain attention and raise serious money for his campaign.

In July 2013, Obergefell married John Arthur, who was gravely ill. Because Ohio at the time didn’t allow same-sex unions, the couple flew from their home in Cincinnati to Maryland to exchange vows.

Arthur died three months later, and Obergefell sued to be listed on the death certificate as Arthur’s husband. That case was among multiple cases involving dozens of plaintiffs argued together but Obergefell was the lead plaintiff, meaning the case bore his name.

Following the 5-4 ruling, Obergefell received rock star status in the LGBTQ communities.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that nationwide there are 568,000 same-sex married couples, including 31,500 in Ohio.

If Obergefell wins the seat, he would be one of just a handful of openly gay politicians to serve in the Ohio General Assembly.

Obergefell is a former teacher, software consultant, realtor and long-time Cincinnati resident. He is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and holds a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University. Although he lived most of his adult life in Cincinnati, in recent years he moved back to his hometown of Sandusky to be closer to family.

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