Lead Supreme Court Marriage Equality Plaintiff Jim Obergefell Writes Open Letter to Defiant Clerk Kim Davis

“Do Not Stand in the Way of Others Seeking Their Legal Right to Have Their Love Recognized”

September 30, 2015 4:30 pm

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NEW YORK – Jim Obergefell, plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court case that established nationwide marriage equality today authored an open letter to defiant Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis who refuses to issue marriage licenses to all eligible couples, citing religious objections to same-sex couples.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Jim Obergefell and brought the lawsuit against Kim Davis, continues to fight for the right of all loving couples to legally wed. In the letter, Jim recalls that his late husband’s dying wish was to have their marriage legally recognized by their home state of Ohio.

“You’re imposing the same indignities on couples in Rowan County that John and I endured when Ohio would not legally recognize us as a married couple,” writes Obergefell. “Thankfully, the law is now changed so that nobody should ever have to suffer the indignities that John and I have endured. No one is above the law, Kim, not even you.”

Jim and John Arthur had lived in a long and committed relationship for 22 years. In spite of John’s 2011 diagnosis with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the couple – newly eligible to marry after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in Windsor –traveled from their native Ohio to Maryland to legally wed. But when they returned to Ohio to live out John’s last days as a married couple, their home state refused to recognize them as married for any purpose, including refusing to acknowledge Jim as a surviving spouse on John’s death certificate. The U.S. Supreme Court’s watershed decision in Obergefell this June struck down all discriminatory state marriage bans as unconstitutional.

“I authored this letter to send the message loud and clear that love transcends all else. It’s not Ms. Davis’ job to judge whose love is worthy of recognition. Her job is to simply uphold the law. Equality and justice denied anywhere means equality and justice denied everywhere.”

To sign the open letter with Jim in support of marriage equality, please visit:

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