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Jim Obergefell, lead plaintiff in landmark same-sex marriage case, announces run for Ohio Legislature

Gay rights advocate Jim Obergefell, who was the named plaintiff in the lawsuit that legalized same-sex marriage in the United States, is entering the political world to run for a seat in the Ohio Legislature. 

"I took a history-making fight for equal rights all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and won," Obergefell said in a video announcing his campaign. "I don't mind being the underdog, and I'm not afraid to take on any issue when it's the right thing to do. I will bring that same fighting spirit as your state representative."

Obergefell, a Democrat, is running to be a state representative in a district that includes part of his hometown in Sandusky. The Supreme Court of Ohio last week threw out the state's legislative lines, saying the GOP-friendly maps violated the state constitution and redistricting reforms. Republicans have won recent elections in the districts that existed before the recent redistricting cycle that began after the 2020 Census. 

Obergefell was born and raised in Sandusky and still has siblings who live in the area. 

Election 2022-Ohio House-Obergefell
Jim Obergefell speaks during the National LGBT 50th Anniversary Ceremony, July 4, 2015, in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia.  Matt Rourke / AP

"While much of my family is still here working as teachers and nurses, many of my friends and family members have had to leave because the opportunities just weren't there," he said.

Obergefell married his late husband John Arthur, who was dying of ALS, in Maryland following the Supreme Court decision that recognized same-sex marriage at the federal level. They could not get married in Ohio because of the state's ban on same-sex marriage. 

They sued Ohio in state court, challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriages and took the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that same-sex couples had the right to get married and have their marriages recognized across the country. 

"Some people underestimated me in my fight for marriage equality, and that was a mistake," Obergefell said. "You deserve to have someone in the state house who will fight for you."

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