Jim Obergefell Is “Scared” for the Future of Marriage Equality

News of Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement has LGBTQ activists preparing for another uphill battle.

Jim Obergefell, plaintiff in the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court case, is gravely concerned about the future of marriage equality in America.

The LGBTQ activist, whose eponymous court case famously legalized marriage equality across the nation, spoke to CNN Politics about his fears after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement on June 27, effective July 31.

In 2015, Kennedy voted in favor of Obergefell and wrote the case’s legal opinion, playing an integral role in making equal marriage a legal reality for all Americans. Now, the 82-year-old justice’s departure means that Donald Trump can nominate a second justice to the high court—and every member of the conservative president’s “shortlist” is not expected to uphold LGBTQ rights.

“I’m actually feeling somewhat despondent about what this means for the LGBTQ community and marriage for millions of Americans,” Obergefell revealed. “If we lose marriage, what does that mean happens next?”

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When CNN Politics asked what Obergefell would tell the president, he was honest: “I’d tell him about my husband, John, and what our life together was like, and what it meant to me to be able to know John could die in peace… The fact that my right to say, ’I was John’s husband,’ ’I’m a widower,’ is now at risk—that scares me.”

“We have to stand up and fight for every minority community,” he added. “We have to be a team. We have to fight for our rights together.”

Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.