Jim Obergefell, whose legal fight led to the Supreme Court ruling that same-sex couples have a right to marry everywhere in the United States, will be the honored guest in November at Equality Florida’s annual Broward County reception.
Obergefell’s involvement in what became Obergefell v. Hodges originated with his desire to have his name listed as “surviving spouse” after husband John Arthur died of ALS in late 2013. Same-sex marriage had been illegal in their home state of Ohio and the couple wed in Maryland shortly before Arthur’s death.
“Thousands of people contributed to achieving marriage equality in our state and our nation, and Jim Obergefell's name and story will forever be linked to this historic victory,” said Stratton Pollitzer, deputy director of LGBT-rights group Equality Florida. “His and John's love story so beautifully epitomized the desperate need for these protections, and the tragedies our families experienced when we lacked this basic dignity.”
On June 26, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of Obergefell and several other gay and lesbian couples.
Obergefell is currently collaborating with Washington Post journalist Debbie Cenziper, a Pulitzer-winning former Miami Herald reporter, on 21 Years to Midnight, William Morrow told The Associated Press on Monday. Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, plans a June 2016 release to mark last month’s Supreme Court ruling.
“When John and I made the decision to stand up for our marriage and the commitments we’d made, we did so with no thought about where our fight might take us,” Obergefell said in a statement. “This book will tell the story of that unexpected journey from the perspective of our 21-year relationship and the overall marriage equality movement.”
Earlier this month, the 20th Century Fox division Fox 2000 Pictures announced it had acquired film rights for 21 Years to Midnight. Both Fox and Morrow are part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
Equality Florida will present Obergefell with its Voice for Equality Award on Nov. 15 at Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty Six in Fort Lauderdale. The annual Broward reception is Equality Florida’s top fundraiser of the year. Transgender teen Jazz Jennings won the award in 2014 and the group raised more than $400,000.
Equality Florida will officially announce Obergefell’s award 6 p.m. Wednesday during a public reception at Rosie’s Bar & Grill in Wilton Manors featuring free appetizers and happy-hour drink specials.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
If you go
Equality Florida will officially announce that Jim Obergefell will receive its Voice for Equality award 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Rosie’s Bar & Grill, 2449 Wilton Dr. in Wilton Manors.
From the group’s invitation:
“Broward Equality Connection, a free fun event for Equality Florida members, LGBT equality supporters, and those new to our organization to gather, mingle and learn more about supporting equality. Complimentary appetizers and Happy Hour drink specials before 7 p.m., plus door prizes, giveaways and membership specials. Open to the public, so guests are welcome. More than 200 people have already responded.”