The Ohio man whose name is on the Supreme Court case, Obergefell v. Hodges, that legalised same-sex marriage in the US published an open letter on Friday to celebrate the ruling.
Jim Obergefell’s case begins with a tragic love story. He married his dying husband John Arthur in 2013
on the tarmac of an airport in Maryland, where same-sex marriage was legal.
After Arthur succumbed to Lou Gehrig’s disease, the state of Ohio refused to list Obergefell as the spouse on Arthur’s death certificate. Obergefell sued.
He ultimately won in a most decisive fashion, when the Supreme Court legalised same-sex marriages across the US.
In his emotional letter, released by the White House, Obergefell appeared to be overwhelmed with relief.
“I can finally relax knowing that Ohio can never erase our marriage from John’s death certificate, and my husband can now truly rest in peace,” he wrote. “Today is a momentous day in our history. It’s a day when the Supreme Court of the United States lived up to the words inscribed above the front entrance of the courthouse: Equal Justice Under Law.”
Read the full letter below:
My husband John died 20 months ago, so we’re unable to celebrate together the Supreme Court’s decision on the case that bears my name, Obergefell v. Hodges.
Today, for the first time, any couple — straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender — may obtain a marriage licence and make their commitments public and legal in all 50 states. America has taken one more step toward the promise of equality enshrined in our Constitution, and I’m humbled to be part of that.
John and I started our fight for a simple reason: We wanted the State of Ohio to recognise our lawful Maryland marriage on John’s impending death certificate. We wanted respect and dignity for our 20-year relationship, and as he lay dying of ALS, John had the right to know his last official record as a person would be accurate. We wanted to live up to the promises we made to love, honour, and protect each other as a committed and lawfully married couple.
Couples across America may now wed and have their marriage recognised and respected no matter what state they call home. No other person will learn at the most painful moment of married life, the death of a spouse, that their lawful marriage will be disregarded by the state. No married couple who moves will suddenly become two single persons because their new state ignores their lawful marriage.
Ethan and Andrew can marry in Cincinnati instead of being forced to travel to another state.
A girl named Ruby can have an accurate birth certificate listing her parents Kelly and Kelly.
Pam and Nicole never again have to fear for Grayden and Orion’s lives in a medical emergency because, in their panic, they forgot legal documents that prove both mothers have the right to approve care.
Cooper can grow into a man knowing Joe and Rob are his parents in all ways emotional and legal.
I can finally relax knowing that Ohio can never erase our marriage from John’s death certificate, and my husband can now truly rest in peace.
Marriage is about promises and commitments made legal and binding under the law, and those laws must apply equally to each and every American.
Today is a momentous day in our history. It’s a day when the Supreme Court of the United States lived up to the words inscribed above the front entrance of the courthouse:
Equal Justice Under Law.
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