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LGBTQ rights icon Jim Obergefell to run for Ohio House seat

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Jim Obergefell. Photo by Eleanor Hasenbeck | Bond Life Sciences/ courtesy of The Buckeye Flame

Jim Obergefell is planning to run for a seat in the Ohio House, according to sources close to him.

The named lead plaintiff in the 2015 landmark case that brought marriage equality to the nation is set to hold a news conference Tuesday morning to announce his bid.

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

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.

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.

This piece will be updated after Obergefell’s press conference on January 18.

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