Jim Obergefell and John Arthur changed the landscape of same-sex civil rights in the United States.
Jim and John had been in love for more than two decades, but had not married because their home state of Ohio did not allow it. As John faced a terminal ALS diagnosis, however, they hoped their relationship could be recognized.
They flew to Maryland, which recognized same-sex marriage, and were married on the tarmac in the medical plane required for John to make the trip. But John died in Ohio, which did not recognize the marriage. The state listed him as “single” on his death certificate.
This denial of their relationship impelled legal action, which grew into the consolidated federal case bearing Jim’s name: Obergefell v. Hodges. In June 2015, a year and a half after John died, Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy delivered the opinion that guaranteed the right to marry to same-sex couples.
The Court determined that states must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and they must recognize marriages performed in other jurisdictions. The legal record of Jim and John’s marriage was secure, and the effect was far more than they could have imagined. They’d won gay marriage across the United States.
Obergefell will share his compelling story of love, loss, legal recognition and a historic moment in civil rights history as part of New College’s “New Topics” discussion series.
The talk will be at New College’s Sainer Pavilion at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26. The talk is open to the public and admission is free.
Following the talk, Obergefell will sign copies of his book, “Love Wins,” at a catered reception benefitting New College’s Gender Studies Program. Tickets are $125 and include one copy of the book per couple.
Reserve seats for the talk or purchase tickets for the reception at http://donate.ncf.edu/ and choosing “New Topics,” or by calling the New College Foundation at 487-4888.
New College’s New Topics discussion series presents:
“An Evening with Jim Obergefell”
Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 5:30 p.m.
Reception to follow at 7:00 p.m. in Isermann Gallery
Sainer Pavilion, 5313 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota (immediately south of Ringling Museum)
Admission to the talk is free but reservations are required. Tickets for the reception are $125. To make reservations or purchase tickets, visit http://donate.ncf.edu or call 487-4888.