WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) met today with Jim Obergefell, a Cincinnati resident fighting for marriage equality in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court – Obergefell v. Hodges. The case, which the Supreme Court will hear on April 28, 2015, will determine whether it is constitutional for a state to refuse to recognize a same-sex marriage license issued in another state. Last month, Brown joined 43 of his Senate colleagues and 167 members of the House of Representatives in filing an amicus brief in the Supreme Court stating that all couples deserve the right to marry no matter the state that they live in.
“Jim Obergefell’s courageous fight and love for his husband is an inspiring reminder that all Americans deserve full civil rights under the law regardless of whom they love or where they live,” Brown said. “Marriage equality is long overdue and I join a growing majority of Americans in calling for equality and justice.”
Obergefell married his husband, John Arthur, in Maryland after a 20-year relationship. Shortly after, Arthur passed away from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Despite their legal marriage, Obergefell is fighting to be listed as the surviving spouse on Arthur’s death certificate because the couple lived in Ohio, a state that does not recognize same sex marriage.
Brown is a long-time supporter of marriage equality. He is one of a handful of sitting senators who voted against the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996 – during his service as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2013, as the Supreme Court heard arguments on the DOMA in United States v. Windsor, Brown joined an amicus brief asking the Court to overturn the law.
In January 2015, Brown cosponsored the Respect for Marriage Act, legislation that would fully repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and ensure equal federal recognition for legally-married, same sex couples – even if they live in non-marriage equality states.