Barack Obama's call to Jim Obergefell aired on CNN after marriage equality ruling
The U.S. Supreme Court made history on Friday after it ruled in favor of marriage equality across America. In the wake of the decision, everyday citizens and celebrities expressed their joy on social media, but only one person received a personal call of thanks from President Barack Obama: Jim Obergefell, who sued the state of Ohio to recognize his marriage to John Arthur.
“Hi, is this Jim?” Obama asked Obergefell through an iPhone as their chat was captured on CNN. “I figured when I saw you that we were going to be hoping for some good news, and we did. I just want to say congratulations. Your leadership on this changed the country.”
Obergefell and Arthur were married in 2013 after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. Arthur died three months later due to complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Obergefell sued to be able to have his name included on his husband’s death certificate, as gay marriages were not recognized in Ohio.
Speaking on Friday to President Obama, Obergefell said he wanted to fight for his marriage “and live up to the commitments to my husband.”
“I appreciate everything you’ve done for the LGBT community,” he said to Obama.
“I’m really proud of you. Just know that not only have you been a great example to people but you’re bringing about a lasting change in this country,” Obama said during the emotional call. “It’s pretty rare when that happens, so I couldn’t be prouder of you and your husband.”
Watch their chat below.