HE SAID YES
We had talked about getting married and we never felt it would be anything more than symbolic because of the, the nature of our country. ~ John Arthur
After learning of Edie Windsor's 2013 win for marriage equality, James Obergefell and John Arthur, in a spontaneous, joyful moment, decided to marry. Jim leaned over to John and said, "Let's get married" and John said "Yes!" After 20 loving years together, and in part because John was afflicted with ALS, the couple decided to marry in the closest state where they could legally wed and only one person need apply for the license. This would allow them to be buried next to each other as in their home state of Ohio.
Or so they thought.
Friends and family raised funds so the two could fly on a private jet, the only way John could make the trip with his illness progressing. They landed on a Maryland tarmac and were married on the spot by John's Aunt Paulette. Upon returning to Ohio, they filed a lawsuit to be recognized as spouses on John's death certificate. John passed away, 3 months and 3 days after they filed suit, but Jim continued fighting to be federally recognized and documented as husbands. He wanted the government to say they mattered, that they existed. The case, Obergefell v. Hodges, went to the Supreme Court, winning marriage equality for all, and giving their marriage eternal validity, dignity, and the inclusive rights of marriage.
Press and Interviews
Obergefell is the named plaintiff from the landmark United States Supreme Court marriage equality case
Obergefell v. Hodges. Following the decision on June 26, 2015, he embraced a new career as an
Jim sits on the Board of Advisors of the Mattachine Society of Washington, DC, the National Advisory Council
of the GLBT Historical Society and served on the Board of Directors of SAGE, the oldest and largest caused-based national organization, advocating for and providing services for LGBTQ+ older Americans.
Merging a love of wine with the fight for equality, he co-founded Equality Vines, the world’s first causebased
wine label, to support organizations devoted to civil rights and equality for all.
With Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Debbie Cenziper, Obergefell co-authored the book
Love Wins published by William Morrow/Harper Collins.
Continuing on his journey to make the world a better place,
Jim is now running for Ohio's 89th District House seat.
Learn about his plans to fight for what's right, what's just–or help support his candidacy here.
A few times a year, Jim miraculously finds the time to celebrate and officiate
the nuptials of loving couples, because, well, Love Is Love.
For more information, click here.
Jim's schedule is always moving, but leave your information here, including wedding date, time and location and who knows, if just might work out!