Cincinnati - Jim Obergefell, Ohio native and lead plaintiff in the historic Supreme Court marriage equality case Obergefell V. Hodges, announced his endorsement of former Governor Ted Strickland for U.S. Senate today.
Strickland’s opponent, U.S. Senator Rob Portman, earned a mere 45 percent out of 100 score from the Human Rights Campaign for his stances on equality.
“Ted walked the walk for equality when he was Governor by appointing openly gay and lesbian Ohioans to his cabinet and the court, he marched through the streets in the rain for marriage equality, and - from passing the Equality Act to ending conversion therapy - Ted is the Senate candidate I trust to keep up our fight to end discrimination,” Obergefell said. “Senator Portman's legislative record indicates he believes in only 45 percent equality for the LGBTQ community, and 45 percent is not enough. Ohioans deserve a Senator who is all in to protect the progress we’ve made and continue the fight for full equality under the law, and Ted Strickland will be that Senator.”
“Ohio is proud to call Jim one of our own, and I am honored to have earned his support,” Strickland said. “Thanks to Jim’s courage and perseverance, America took one big step closer to the day when everyone is treated with respect and given equal rights under the law. But Jim hasn’t stopped after winning marriage equality, and we can't either, because there’s too much work left to do. From protecting our friends and neighbors from being fired or evicted simply because of who they are, to ending abusive conversion therapy that has harmed too many young people already, I will fight in the U.S. Senate for full equality under the law.”
Strickland supports the Equality Act, legislation introduced earlier this year to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the same way discrimination is already prohibited based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. Under current law, LGBT Americans can still legally be fired, evicted or denied service simply because of who the are.
As a former psychologist, Strickland has also called for the passage of Leelah’s Law, legislation to ban the practice of so-called conversion therapy - the practice of trying to force someone to change their gender identity or sexual orientation - on minors. The law is named for 17-year-old Cincinnatian Leelah Alcorn, who tragically took her own life in 2014 after being forced into conversion therapy.
As Governor, Strickland appointed openly gay and lesbian Ohioans to his cabinet and to the court.
Obergefell is a native of Sandusky, Ohio, currently residing in Cincinnati, where he lived in a loving and committed relationship with John Arthur for almost 21 years. Obergefell and Arthur married in Maryland in July 2013. But following their marriage, they learned it would not be recognized by the State of Ohio on Arthur’s impending death certificate. Arthur and Obergefell sued and won in Federal District Court. After Arthur's death in October 2013, the state appealed and the case eventually made it all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States, culminating in the landmark marriage equality decision earlier this year.