The fascinating and very moving story of the lovers, lawyers, judges and activists behind the groundbreaking Supreme Court case that led to one of the most important, national civil rights victories in decades—the legalization of same-sex marriage.
In June 2015, the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage the law in all fifty states in a decision as groundbreaking as Roe v Wade and Brown v Board of Education. Through insider accounts and access to key players, this definitive account reveals the dramatic and previously unreported events behind Obergefell v Hodges and the lives at its center. This is a story of law and love—and a promise made to a dying man who wanted to know how he would be remembered.
Twenty years ago, Jim Obergefell and John Arthur fell in love in Cincinnati, Ohio, a place where gays were routinely picked up by police and fired from their jobs. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government had to provide married gay couples all the benefits offered to straight couples. Jim and John—who was dying from ALS—flew to Maryland, where same-sex marriage was legal. But back home, Ohio refused to recognize their union, or even list Jim’s name on John’s death certificate. Then they met Al Gerhardstein, a courageous attorney who had spent nearly three decades advocating for civil rights and who now saw an opening for the cause that few others had before him.
This forceful and deeply affecting narrative—Part Erin Brockovich, part Milk, part Still Alice—chronicles how this grieving man and his lawyer, against overwhelming odds, introduced the most important gay rights case in U.S. history. It is an urgent and unforgettable account that will inspire readers for many years to come.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
This moving account of one gay couple’s fight against discrimination beautifully illustrates the old adage that the personal is political. Jim Obergefell and John Arthur were together for 20 years, but the state of Ohio refused to recognize the couple’s marriage. As Arthur lay dying of ALS, Obergefell teamed up with a passionate civil rights lawyer to contest the government’s refusal to name him on his partner’s death certificate. Obergefell co-wrote Love Wins with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Debbie Cenziper. Their wonderful storytelling invites us into the story of two Midwestern men who faced down hatred, found a great love, and played a pivotal role in changing hearts, minds, and legislation.
This gripping portrayal of the pivotal moment in the fight for marriage equality in Ohio includes childhood memories and romance as well as tense moments in court. The tale is told through the life stories of the lead plaintiff, Jim Obergefell; his terminally ill husband, John Arthur; and lawyer Al Gerhardstein. Written in the third person, though Obergefell is listed as author alongside Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Cenziper, the book is so full of dialogue and personal anecdotes that it feels as much like a biography as a legal history. The first thread follows Obergefell and his late husband, Arthur, though their courtship, coping with Arthur's illness as it progresses, and their quiet Maryland wedding ceremony. The second follows Gerhardstein from his early work supporting Planned Parenthood to his fight against Ohio's same-sex marriage ban, which leads him to reach out to Obergefell and Arthur, who dread the eventual legal erasure of their marriage on Arthur's Ohio death certificate in the wake of U.S. v. Windsor. The book proceeds to outline the testimony and arguments, ending with the Obergefell v. Hodges victory in the Supreme Court. As Obergefell and Gerhardstein literally walk out of the courtroom into the sunlight together, readers will feel they've been completely guided into seeing the people behind the cases.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Informative, moving, compelling
A factual, compelling, and emotional account of righting a great societal injustice that had mercilessly endured for centuries.