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Two years after his husband’s death, Jim Obergefell is still fighting for the right to be married

In this July 11, 2013 file photo, Jim Obergefell, left and John Arthur, right, are married by officiant Paulette Roberts, in a plane on the tarmac at Baltimore/Washington International Airport in Glen Burnie, Md. Glenn Hartong, The Cincinnati Enquirer (AP)

Glenn Hartong, The Cincinnati Enquirer (AP)In this July 11, 2013 file photo, Jim Obergefell, left and John Arthur, right, are married by officiant Paulette Roberts, in a plane on the tarmac at Baltimore/Washington International Airport in Glen Burnie, Md. Federal Judge Timothy Black on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, questioned the constitutionality of Ohio's ban on gay marriage and whether state officials have the authority to refuse to recognize the marriages of gay couples who wed in other states. Black earlier ruled in favor of the couple in a lawsuit seeking to recognize the couples' marriage on Arthur’s death certificate before he died in October from ALS.

Glenn Hartong, The Cincinnati Enquirer (AP)
In this July 11, 2013 file photo, Jim Obergefell, left and John Arthur, right, are married by officiant Paulette Roberts, in a plane on the tarmac at Baltimore/Washington International Airport in Glen Burnie, Md. The couple were plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit challenging Ohio‘s same-sex marriage ban. Arthur died in October 2013 from ALS.

BuzzFeed’s Chris Geidner checks in with Jim Obergefell, who in 2013 flew to Maryland to marry his ailing parter on an airport tarmac. His husband, John Arthur, died three months later.

Two years later, the Ohio couple’s right to marry, and recognition of that marriage after Arthur’s death, will be among the cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in April.

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Via BuzzFeed:

Jim Obergefell and John Arthur had wanted to marry for a long time. In 2013, after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, they decided this was the time to do it — even though Arthur was very, very ill. He had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2011, a fatal neurological disease that paralyzes the body. He was confined to his bed.

The couple could not get married in their home state of Ohio. They could, however, get married in one of the handful of states that did allow same-sex couples to marry. So their wedding took place aboard a small, specially equipped medical plane with two pilots, a nurse, and Arthur’s aunt — she performed the ceremony.

“We landed at Baltimore, sat on the tarmac for a little bit, said ‘I do,’ and 10 minutes later were in the air on the way home,” Obergefell said.

The marriage performed there on the tarmac of Baltimore-Washington International Airport has become iconic within the marriage equality movement and beyond, a testament to a couple’s commitment and to the absurd lengths the law required them to undertake for a simple ceremony.

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