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Jim Obergefell with Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality

June 4

Jim Obergefell was the named plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court marriage equality case Obergefell v. Hodges, a case involving more than thirty marriage equality plaintiffs from four states. Circumstances thrust Jim into this role; after marrying John, his partner of more than twenty years, who was dying of ALS, they decided to file suit against the state of Ohio to demand recognition of their lawful Maryland marriage on John’s impending death certificate. After the Supreme Court ruling made marriage equality the law across the entire United States on June 26, 2015, Jim has embraced a career as a speaker with the APA Agency and continued his work as an activist with organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign and Equality Ohio. Jim has been honored with awards from organizations such as SAGE, Equality Florida, Equality North Carolina, the ACLU of Southern California, Cleveland Stonewall Democrats, The International Court Council, the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and the Ohio Democratic Party. Foreign Policy magazine named Jim one of its 2015 Global Thinkers, and Out magazine named Jim to its 2015 Out 100 list.

About Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality 

The fascinating and very moving story of the lovers, lawyers, judges and activists behind the groundbreaking Supreme Court case that led to one of the most important, national civil rights victories in decades—the legalization of same-sex marriage.

In June 2015, the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage the law in all fifty states in a decision as groundbreaking as Roe v Wade and Brown v Board of Education. Through insider accounts and access to key players, this definitive account reveals the dramatic and previously unreported events behind Obergefell v Hodges and the lives at its center. This is a story of law and love—and a promise made to a dying man who wanted to know how he would be remembered.

Twenty years ago, Jim Obergefell and John Arthur fell in love in Cincinnati, Ohio, a place where gays were routinely picked up by police and fired from their jobs. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government had to provide married gay couples all the benefits offered to straight couples. Jim and John—who was dying from ALS—flew to Maryland, where same-sex marriage was legal. But back home, Ohio refused to recognize their union, or even list Jim’s name on John’s death certificate. Then they met Al Gerhardstein, a courageous attorney who had spent nearly three decades advocating for civil rights and who now saw an opening for the cause that few others had before him.

This forceful and deeply affecting narrative—Part Erin Brockovich, part Milk, part Still Alice—chronicles how this grieving man and his lawyer, against overwhelming odds, introduced the most important gay rights case in U.S. history. It is an urgent and unforgettable account that will inspire readers for many years to come.

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June 4
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