Pioneer of LGBTQ+ Marriage, University of Cincinnati Graduate Jim Obergefell to Face DJ Swearingen for Ohio’s 89th District | Ohio News | Cincinnati
The man who helped change the course of marriage equality in America by law now hopes to do something similar in the political arena.
Jim Obergefell, who attended the University of Cincinnati and was the lead plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court case Oberfelfell v Hodges, won the Democratic nomination for Ohio’s 89th district in the Ohio special primaries on August 2. He announced his candidacy in January and ran unopposed. As of 9:30 p.m. press time, Obergefell has 100% of the Democratic vote.
Obergefell was born in Sandusky and after stints in Cincinnati, Washington, DC and Columbus, he lives there again near his siblings.
The 89th District is currently represented by Republican DJ Swearingen, who Obergefell will face in the Nov. 8 general election.
According to district maps that were redrawn by a Republican-led commission in 2022, the 89th District includes parts of Erie, Huron and Ottawa counties along Lake Erie in northern Ohio. The district’s boundaries were redrawn this year in an ongoing and dramatic redistricting battle. This map and other district boundary maps have been repeatedly thrown out by the Ohio Supreme Court as unconstitutional for unfairly favoring Republicans. The primary was originally scheduled to be held in May, with several legal skirmishes having postponed it. A federal court said Ohio must use the maps for the postponed special election due to timing, but the state is required to adopt new maps before the 2024 election. The ramifications of voting within borders redrawn — and, many say, unfair — in districts across the state will affect elections and priorities for years to come.
Here’s why Oberfelfell looks familiar
Obergefell became a household name in the 2015 US Supreme Court case Oberfelfell v Hodgeswhich legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.
In 2013, Obergefell married longtime partner John Arthur, whom he met in Cincinnati, Maryland, after Arthur fell seriously ill with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Because their home state of Ohio did not recognize same-sex marriages, Obergefell could not be listed on Arthur’s death certificate as a surviving spouse.
After Arthur’s death, Obergefell sued the lower courts before the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, with all nine justices ultimately ruling that states could not discriminate. between heterosexual and same-sex marriages and that marriages legal in one state should be recognized in other states. .
That decision still stands, but some attorneys involved in the case say Republicans continue to flout the law and marriage protections could be removed in the future. Republicans appear to be developing this type of plan after reading the opinion of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in the June 24 vote to overturn Roe vs. Wadewhich for nearly 50 years has granted a person the right to privacy to choose abortion as a health care procedure.
In his concurring opinion, Thomas wrote: “In future cases, we should reconsider all substantive due process precedents of this Court, including Griswold, Lawrenceand Oberefell.”
Legal experts as well as civil rights and human rights activists have long argued that reversal deer could pave the way for other rights to be revoked, including the one that ultimately allowed Obergfell to legally marry anywhere in the country. The rights and major court cases granting those rights include:
- The right to obtain contraceptives (Griswold v. Connecticut, 1965)
- The right to interracial marriage (Love against Virginie1967)
- The right to engage in private and consensual sexual acts (Lawrence v. Texas2003)
- The right to same-sex marriage (Oberfell v. Hodges2015)
Thomas, who is black, is married to Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, a white woman who is under investigation for pressuring lawmakers to help cancel the 2020 general election in which the current president American Joe Biden defeated incumbent President Donald Trump. Trump’s claims that he won the election helped spark the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, uprising on the U.S. Capitol, investigators say.
The interracial marriage between Clarence and Virginia Thomas would have been banned had it not been for the decision of Love against Virginie.
All Ohio election results are preliminary until certified. As the presumptive winners of the party, Obergefell and Swearingen will face each other in the November 8 general election. For election results and information, visit the Ohio Secretary of State’s website.
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