"My name is Jim Obergefell, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio," the lead plaintiff said while addressing the crowd of on the steps of the Supreme Court Friday morning. In a 5-4 ruling, with each dissenting justice penning their own scathing dissent, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples can legally marry in all 50 states — and no one was happier in Washington, D.C. than Obergefell. Friday's ruling by the highest court finally brings some closure for Obergefell, who initially brought his case to court when the state of Ohio denied him the right to be listed as the surviving spouse on his terminally ill husband's death certificate.
"My late husband John and I were together for almost 21 years before he passed away from complications of ALS," Obergefell began. "I'm here today...because my home state fought the recognition of my marriage to John."
The Ohio native continued:
No American should have to suffer that indignity. That's why John and I, and the 30 plaintiffs in this lawsuit, decided to fight. I know in my heart that John is with me today. ... Today's ruling from the Supreme Court affirms what millions across this country already know to be true in our hearts. Our love is equal. That the four words etched onto the front of the Supreme Court, "equal justice under law," applied to us, too. All Americans deserve equal dignity, respect and treatment when it comes to the recognition of our relationships and families. Now, at long last, Ohio will recognize our marriage, and most important, marriage equality will come to every state across our country.
"It's my home that the term 'gay marriage' will become a thing of the past," Obergefell said. "And our nation will be better off because of it."
After he gave his prepared remarks Friday morning, President Obama personally called Obergefell to congratulate the victory. The call was broadcast on live television, thanks to that little thing called speakerphone.
Images: Getty Images