Prizm News / Jiune 22, 2018 / By Bob Vitale 

The Democrat’s LGBTQ backers start an effort designed to tell Ohioans of his longtime support for equality.

Jim Obergefell address people at Union Cafe in Columbus for the start of LGBTQ Community for Sherrod, which is backing U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s re-election bid. Above: Obergefell poses for a photo with Tayo Clyburn of Ohio State University and state Rep. Nickie Antonio of Lakewood.

By Bob Vitale

Nearly three years to the day after he won marriage equality for us all, Jim Obergefell endorsed U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and urged LGBTQ Ohioans to work hard for his re-election. 

“Get out there. Knock on doors. Wear out your shoes,” Obergefell said at the launch Thursday of an initiative called LGBTQ Community for Sherrod, designed to highlight the two-term senator’s support of LGBTQ people and issues during his decades in public office. 

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Brown is running for re-election against Republican Jim Renacci, a U.S representative from Northeast Ohio who has averaged 10 points per term on the Human Rights Campaign congressional scorecard over his six years in Congress. 

Brown has scored 100 points on the each HRC measure of congressional votes during his current term. 

“We need him in the Senate,” Obergefell said. “We can’t afford to lose him. There’s still too much to do.” 

Obergefell, a native of Sandusky and former resident of Cincinnati, sued the state of Ohio with his late husband, John Arthur, in July 2013. Arthur was suffering from ALS, and the couple knew that although their marriage was legally performed in Maryland and recognized by the federal government, Ohio would list him as single with no surviving spouse on his death certificate. 

Arthur passed away in October 2013, but their case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in Obergefell’s favor and declared marriage equality a nationwide right on June 26, 2015. 

In helping to kick off the effort of LGBTQ Ohioans to support Brown, Obergefell recalled a day he was invited to sit in the U.S. Senate gallery as the senator spoke in favor of not just marriage equality but also for anti-discrimination and other civil rights for LGBTQ Americans. 

“That was a day I was incredibly proud to call that man my senator,” he said. 

Brown recently voted against the confirmation of Mike Pompeo as President Donald Trump’s latest secretary of state because of his strident and longtime opposition to LGBTQ civil rights. He also announced his opposition this month to two Trump federal appeals court nominees whose records include fighting marriage equality and military service for transgender Americans. 

Renacci is running as an unabashed Trump acolyte in the Nov. 6 election. 

“When I’m elected your next Senator, I will work with @realDonaldTrump to make sure the Senate fights for the America First agenda,” he tweeted in April. 

“I need Jim very badly to help our agenda,” Trump tweeted in May. 

Bob Vitale
A Toledo native and graduate of Toledo Public Schools, Bob has worked as a local government and politics reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, as a Washington correspondent for Thomson Newspapers and as editor-in-chief for Outlook Ohio. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Ball State University and a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.