Jim Obergefell, the gay rights activist and named plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, announced on Tuesday that he is launching a bid for the Ohio State House.
“I took a history making fight for equal rights all the way to the US Supreme Court and won. 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 said in a video posted to Twitter.
Obergefell, a Democrat, is running for Ohio’s 89th House District, which includes Erie and Ottawa counties. The seat is currently held by D.J. Swearingen, a Republican. However, the district lines could shift as the state’s redistricting process continues.
The Ohio Supreme Court last week ruled that the state’s newly-drawn state and congressional maps, passed by the GOP-controlled legislature, violate the state constitution for partisan gerrymandering.
Obergefell – who grew up in Sandusky, Ohio – said he has witnessed friends and family leave the area in pursuit of opportunities.
“We can fix that by putting jobs and working people first so we can rebuild our communities,” he said in his announcement video.
“You deserve to have someone in the State House who will fight for you to create good jobs, great schools for all kids, access to quality health care for everyone and a clean, healthy lake Erie,” Obergefell said. “It’s a big job, but I’ve been there. And I’m ready to be that state representative for you.”
Obergefell married John Arthur in 2013, months before Arthur died.
The Ohio couple had to travel to Maryland aboard a medical jet to get married when Arthur became gravely ill. When Arthur died, Obergefell sued to be recognized as Arthur’s spouse on his death certificate.
The landmark 2015 Supreme Court opinion bearing Obergefell’s name ruled that same-sex couples can marry nationwide.