This one breaks my heart.
I first wrote about John Arthur back in July [HERE and HERE] when he and his partner, Jim Obergefell flew to Maryland via a hospital plane — John had ALS, a progressive neurological disease that robs patients of their ability to walk, talk and eventually breathe — so that they could be legally married before John passed away.
All John wanted was for his death certificate to say he was Jim's husband.
After the wedding, held aboard the plane because of John’s condition, they immediately flew back to Ohio to have their marriage recognized. John and Jim just wanted the world to know that they were a married committed couple, and that they would be buried side-by-side as husband and husband. They decided to sue the state of Ohio.
And in that case U.S. District Judge Timothy Black found in favor of the couple and a second couple that joined the lawsuit. He wrote that they deserved to be treated with respect and that Ohio law historically has recognized out-of-state marriages as valid as long as they were legal where they took place, citing marriages between cousins and those involving minors:
"How then can Ohio, especially given the historical status of Ohio law, single out same-sex marriages as ones it will not recognize?" Black wrote in August. "The short answer is that Ohio cannot."
John Arthur died early Tuesday, a happily, legally, married man.
The couple’s attorney released a statement:
"Their love is a model for all of us. Part of John's legacy will be the difference he has already made in the struggle for marriage equality."
The lawsuit has since been expanded to have the out-of-state marriages of all gay couples in similar situations recognized on Ohio death certificates, despite the statewide ban. And the case has drawn attention in other states, including helping spark a similar but much broader lawsuit in Pennsylvania.
All John Arthur wanted to do before he died was to marry his partner and to have his death certificate state clearly that he was the husband of Jim Obergefell.
He got that wish, and I’m fairly certain that he is now resting in peace.
He deserves it.
Folks on the other side of this argument say that we're asking for 'special' rights, but it boils down to one thing: we're asking for dignity, and respect, and recognition that we live and love and die just like everyone else, and should be allowed to do so freely.
Is that so wrong?