Human Rights Campaign Endorses Jim Obergefell for Ohio House of Representatives

by Henry Berg-Brousseau

The Human Rights Campaign PAC (HRC PAC) announced its endorsement of Jim Obergefell for the 89th District seat in the Ohio House of Representatives.

The Human Rights Campaign PAC (HRC PAC) announced its endorsement of Jim Obergefell for the 89th District seat in the Ohio House of Representatives. HRC PAC is committed to engaging our volunteers, members and supporters to mobilize the thousands of voters in the Sandusky area in support of Obergefell and other pro-equality candidates up and down the ballot.

Human Rights Campaign Interim President Joni Madison released the following statement:

“Jim Obergefell’s name is already legendary in the LGBTQ+ community as the man who won marriage equality for everyone in the United States. Many people would be content with such a legacy – but Obergefell is not one to rest on his laurels. In his campaign for the Ohio House of Representatives, he’s standing up once again for those who’ve been marginalized, those who’ve been discriminated against, and those who have been left behind. If he’s elected, the Sandusky area will have someone representing them in Columbus who can be counted on to stand up and do what’s right, and the Human Rights Campaign is proud to support his candidacy.”

Jim Obergefell released the following statement:

“I sincerely thank the Human Rights Campaign for their endorsement. The work HRC does every day for the LGBTQ+ community is critical, and I appreciate their belief in and support of my campaign.
“I'm running for the Ohio House of Representatives because I believe all people should be treated with dignity and respect, and public servants should work to make life better for their constituents. Everyone deserves to have their voices heard and their rights as human beings protected. I've never backed down from a fight, and now more than ever we need a strong champion for the rights and dignity of all. I'll bring that same heart to the Ohio Statehouse as a state representative.”

A native of Sandusky, Obergefell first came to national prominence as the lead plaintiff in Obergefell vs. Hodges, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that in 2015 legalized same-sex marriage for the entire country. He sued the state of Ohio for its refusal to recognize his marriage to his late husband, John, staying the course as the case worked its way through the legal system before finally winding up at the highest court in the nation. His victory in the legal arena was a watershed moment for all LGBTQ+ people in the country as hundreds of thousands of same-sex marriages have been recorded in the seven years since the Supreme Court’s ruling – many of those in states that had previously prohibited marriage equality.

An Opponent With An Anti-Equality Record

By contrast, Obergefell’s opponent, State Representative D.J. Swearingen (HD-89) has defined himself as one of the most anti-equality legislators in the Ohio House. Swearingen co-sponsored HB 151, legislation that would have banned transgender youth from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity and even required an invasive “genital verification process” for young people “accused” of being transgender.

The editorial page of the Sandusky Register, Swearingen’s hometown newspaper, also took the Republican lawmaker to task for his reckless comments regarding HB 616, Ohio’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” proposal, which would censor classroom discussions regarding sexual orientation or gender identity:

State Rep. D.J. Swearingen, R-Huron, is one of those lawmakers. In expressing his support for "Don't Say Gay," he failed to show common decency and respect for educators, for people of color and for LGBTQ+ rights.

“Every child deserves a quality education," Swearingen told the Register in April. "My colleagues and I cannot sit idly by when radical indoctrination in schools is threatening this fundamental right."

But Swearingen, when pressed, couldn't provide any specific examples of radical indoctrination or the names of constituents who approached him with concerns about it, or concerns about how history is taught in schools as it relates to race. [“Stop Lying About Teachers,” Sandusky Register Editorial Board, 5/18/22]

HRC’s Commitment to Ohio

Equality Voters, including the 2 million in Ohio, are a voting bloc of demographically and geographically diverse Americans who are united by the advancement of LGBTQ+ equality. Equality Voters are younger, more racially diverse, and more female than the general electorate, they recognize and trust the HRC brand, and they are more likely to identify with issue-specific organizations than candidates or political parties.

Across the country, HRC PAC works every day to elect pro-equality leaders who support policies that will support the rights and lives of LGBTQ+ people. During the 2020 election cycle, HRC staff on the ground recruited 5,800 individual volunteers nationwide who completed 28,500 hours of voter contact in more than 2,650 volunteer events. HRC engaged in robust digital and online GOTV efforts, including sending over 2.7 million person-to-person text messages, a massive increase from 2018 when approximately 500,000 texts were sent. HRC sent over 2.5 million mail pieces, had over 930,000 phone conversations with voters, and engaged more than 200,000 voters through HRC’s voter dashboard at

Paid for by Human Rights Campaign PAC ( Not authorized by any federal candidate or candidate’s committee.

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