Celebrations are being held across the United States as news of the Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage washes over the country. There are so many reasons to celebrate this truly historic ruling, and there are just as many people whose lives will be positively changed by the opportunity to marry whomever they love. One man in particular has special reason to take part in the joy today: Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the case that was just won in favor of marriage equality, gave a moving speech about his role in the fight for same sex marriage.
Obergefell and his now deceased husband, John Arthur, endured years of legal push-back for their marriage rights from Obergefell's home state of Ohio, where same sex marriage was not legal until today. When Arthur died of ALS, the state refused to acknowledge Obergefell as a family member, and denied him the right to place his name on his husband's death certificate. Ever since then, Obergefell has been a committed and outspoken activist on behalf of marriage equality; his importance in this ruling cannot be understated.
His speech was brief, but packed with palpable emotion and a sense of relief that he no longer has to battle for this right. Here are some of the most potent remarks Obergefell made during his speech about the SCOTUS decision.
No American should have to suffer that indignity.
I know in my heart that John is with me today. That man cared for and loved me for 21 years, through thick and thin.
Our love is equal.
It's my hope that the term "gay marriage" will soon be a thing of the past. That from this day forward, it will simply be "marriage."