Longtime HRC member Jim Obergefell and John Arthur were together for almost 20 years when Arthur was diagnosed with ALS.
They met in the early 1990s and as Obergefell recently told Buzzfeed that it was, “Love at third sight.”
The couple remained together in Cincinnati, adjusting their lifestyle as Arthur’s conditioned worsened. He told Buzzfeed, “The person I love was physically falling apart, and I was happy and privileged to be able to be there to help him. So, it’s — what else would I do?”
In 2013, they traveled to Maryland and married on an airplane on the tarmac of Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
“We landed at Baltimore, sat on the tarmac for a little bit, said ‘I do,’ and 10 minutes later were in the air on the way home,” Obergefell said in the interview.
Obergefell and Arthur filed a case in July 2013, seeking recognition of their Maryland marriage on Arthur’s death certificate. Arthur died three months later on October 22, 2013.
“We’ve been beside each other for 20 years. We deserve to be beside each other in perpetuity,” Obergefell testified.
Since 2013, their case has made its way through the federal court. Now, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear their case on April 28.
Ahead of the hearing, Obergefell joined HRC to hand-deliver dozens of boxes of the People’s Brief, a landmark documents that allowed any American who read the brief to show their support for marriage equality directly to the Supreme Court. More than 207,000 Americans added their names in support of marriage equality and loving, committed same-sex couple across the nation like Obergefell and Arthur.
In a speech to HRC supporters and volunteers earlier this month, Vice President Joe Biden claimed, “ "Jim [Obergefell] and his fellow plaintiffs are heroes. And this case can, and I believe will, finally bring marriage equality to all 50 states in this country."
As we quickly approach April 28, we reflect on Obergefell and Arthur’s story, and the stories of so many other couples like them, and thank them for their courage and celebrate their love.
Over the next few weeks, HRC will highlight the stories of loving, committed same-sex couples. Share your love stories with us for #MarriageMonday in the comments and stay tuned to hrc.org/blog for more marriage stories.