"This was a story about love, family, empowerment — so different from anything I had done before."
Debbie and Jim Obergefell in the U.S. Supreme Court on decision day
"Love wins is a real winner and expertly crafted. You can tell it's going to make a great movie."
ReVIEW, The Washington Post
"Love Wins manages to recount the technical details of the court cases while emphasizing the human stories at their center. It’s a living, breathing tribute to the lives of those whose testimony formed the backbone of world-altering change."
Excerpt from Love Wins
Judge Timothy S. Black strode into his bustling courtroom, long black robe whipping around his legs, and glanced at the sea of faces that was looking at him, the judge who would decide whether the will of Ohio's voters trumped the wishes of a dying man. He looked at the lawyers, one for the City of Cincinnati, two for the State of Ohio, and three for the plaintiffs, and at the spectators who filled every row of the federal courtroom, with its mahogany paneling and plush maroon carpeting. But the judge's gaze settled on one man in particular, whose tired eyes were hidden behind brown-framed glasses.
Jim Obergefell sat perfectly still at the plaintiff's table. The walk from Al Gerhardstein's law office to Cincinnati's Potter Stewart United States Courthouse had seemed more like a mile than a single block, down the sidewalk, across East Fifth Street, past the bus stop, and Jim tried to control the quivers in his stomach by thinking about John, who would have admired the architecture in the elegant room if he weren't at home in bed, unable to move much more than his fingers.
Judge Black had called for an emergency hearing on the muggy July afternoon to decide whether to require the State of Ohio to issue a death certificate listing John Arthur as a married man. The fledgling case was already drawing newspaper headlines, and in the hours leading up to the hearing, the fifty-nine-year-old judge paced alone in his hushed office on the eighth floor of the federal courthouse. Only three days earlier, his law clerk had rushed in, clutching Al Gerhardstein's lawsuit. "This is going to be a historic case," she said.
The judge knew that any ruling would be narrow in scope, approving or rejecting the words on a single death certificate, but his decision would set legal precedent, opening the door to a broader challenge to the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
Should one judge step in and upset the democratic process?