Jim Obergefell. Photo via ACLU.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Supreme Court marriage equality plaintiff Jim Obergefell will join national and local LGBT advocacy organizations for a press conference and evening community event on Monday in Charlotte.

Obergefell is the namesake of the marriage equality case currently being decided by Supreme Court justices. Oral arguments in the case were heard in April and an opinion is expected some time in June. The case could open full LGBT marriage equality across the country.

HRC, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, will join Equality North Carolina for a press conference with Obergefell and others on Monday morning, June 1, 10 a.m., at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center.

Obergefell will share his personal story at the conference, including the steps he and his partner, John Arthur, had to take in order to be legally wed. After two decades together, Arthur was diagnosed with ALS in 2013 and became terminally ill. The couple flew to Baltimore in a specially-equipped medical airplane where they were married on the tarmac of the airport. Their home state of Ohio would not recognize their marriage and state officials refused to list Obergefell as Arthur’s surviving spouse on his death certificate.

community event

June 1, 6:30 p.m.
Earl’s Grocery
1609 Elizabeth Ave.
Jim Obergefell will share his inspiring story, with HRC staff speaking on marriage and the LGBT equality movement beyond. Free. Open to public.
More information via Facebook.

A court later ordered state officials to list Obergefell on the death certificate. When Arthur died on Oct. 22, 2013, Obergefell was listed on the certificate, but Ohio’s attorney general picked up the case in order to defend the state’s anti-LGBT constitutional amendment on marriage. Obergefell’s case eventually landed at the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in favor of the state. It’s appeal has led to the current case being weighed now by the Supreme Court.

Others at the press conference will include HRC Vice President for Communications and Marketing Fred Sainz, Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro, Charlotte City Councilmember LaWana Mayfield, Freedom Center for Social Justice’s Norena Gutierrez and transgender faith leader the Rev. Debra Hopkins.

Obergefell will also attend a community-wide event later that evening at Earl’s Grocery, 1609 Elizabeth Ave. The public is invited to attend the event, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The Charlotte event is part of a larger national tour led by HRC and Jim Obergefell. Other events include stops in St. Louis, Indianapolis, Phoenix and San Francisco. HRC says the tour is “part of a broader HRC effort to mobilize and organize fair-minded Americans around the Supreme Court marriage decision — and to the highlight the fact that the biggest fights for LGBT equality are still ahead.”

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.