After careers in teaching, training, IT consulting, and real estate, Jim Obergefell is now an LGBTQ activist, speaker, and author. He is also the co-founder of Equality Vines, the first cause-based wine label that supports organizations devoted to civil rights and equality for all.
Obergefell is the named plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, a decision that brought nationwide marriage equality to the United States on June 26, 2015. He and his husband John launched their legal battle with the State of Ohio to demand recognition of their lawful marriage on John’s impending death certificate. John died of ALS three months after their first court hearing, and Obergefell continued the fight along with more than 30 other plaintiffs from four states.
Since the ruling, Obergefell has continued his work as an activist and as a speaker with Keppler Speakers. He co-authored the book Love Wins with Debbie Cenziper, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist with the Washington Post, which is about the lovers and lawyers in this historic Supreme Court case. It was published by William Morrow/Harper Collins; Temple Hill Productions and Fox 2000 will produce a feature film based on the book.
In addition to his SAGE board role, Obergefell is a member of the National Advisory Board for the GLBT Historical Society and the Board of Advisors for the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C. He has been honored with awards from organizations such as Equality Florida, Equality North Carolina, the ACLU of Southern California, Cleveland Stonewall Democrats, Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, SAGE, the Ohio Democratic Party, the Santa Clara University School of Law, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the City of Cincinnati, and more. Foreign Policy magazine named him one of its 2015 Global Thinkers, and Out magazine named him to its 2015 Out 100 list.