November 16, 2015 at 12:00 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Lead marriage plaintiff Obergefell endorses Clinton
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Obergefell v. Hodges lead plaintiff James Obergefell (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit that resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality has thrown his support behind Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton.

In a statement to the Washington Blade, Ohio marriage plaintiff Jim Obergefell said Clinton is the best candidate to continue the fight for LGBT rights and to defeat Republicans seeking to roll back progress.

“We have fought to not only change laws, but to change hearts, and now we need a president who will help us fight to eliminate the injustices that occur regularly in our community, and the best person to do that is Hillary Clinton,” Obergefell said. “Hillary is a proven leader who will not only ensure that states are implementing marriage equality, but will work to end discrimination in our community whether it’s by passing the Equality Act or through state measures. I refuse to let Republicans undo the progress that we’ve made, and that is why we need Hillary Clinton in the White House because she will be by our side as we break down barriers and finally reach full equality for all.”

Obergefell has risen to national prominence not only for being the namesake plaintiff in the landmark case of Obergefell v. Hodges, but also for his personal story. As his partner John Arthur was battling Lou Gehrig’s disease, the couple flew from Ohio to Maryland and married on the tarmac at BWI Airport before immediately returning home. Arthur died before the Supreme Court decision upholding recognition of the couple’s marriage was handed down.

Clinton said in a statement Obergefell “made history and changed America for the better,” pledging with his help to continue the advancement of LGBT rights.

“There are still too many places where LGBT Americans are targeted for harassment and violence, and there are too many young people who are uncertain and scared of what their future might hold,” Clinton said. “Right now in America, you can get married on Saturday and be fired from your job on Monday just because of who you love. I see the injustices that are happening in our country, and that is why I’m committed to working with Jim and others to end discrimination against the LGBT community once and for all.”

Obergefell, who has been promoted by the Human Rights Campaign for his role in the marriage case, hasn’t shied away from politics in the aftermath of the case. He introduced President Obama at a recent LGBT fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee in New York and was among the attendees before Clinton’s speech to HRC supporters last month.

From his Twitter account, Obergefell has also taken at jab at former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee for saying he’d “ignore” as president the Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage:

The Obergefell endorsement of Clinton comes days after she was considered to have delivered a strong performance at the most recent Democratic presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa. According to a Public Policy Poll published after the debate Saturday, 67 percent of respondents thought Clinton won, followed by 20 percent who thought U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) prevailed and 7 percent who thought former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley won.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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