Jim Obergefell is in Philadelphia this weekend, joining in the National LGBT 50th Anniversary Celebration, honoring the 1964 protest outside Independence Hall that built the foundations for the modern LGBT equality movement.
We caught up with Jim at a wreath-laying ceremony at the Gay Pioneers Historic Marker, and asked him how his life has been in the week since the historic Supreme Court decision granting marriage equality to all 50 states.
“It’s been a blur—a whirlwind,” confessed Obergefell, who was contacted by President Obama and Vice President Biden shortly after the ruling was made public.
“But people have been so wonderful—I’m just filled with continued gratitude and love.”
Sadly Jim’s husband, John Arthur, died of ALS in 2013, just three months after the two had a wedding ceremony aboard a specially equipped medical plane that shuttled them from Ohio to Maryland, where same-sex marriage was legal.
So for Obergefell, the June 26 decision was “absolutely bittersweet—but it’s weighed more on the sweet than the bitter.”
And though he is a widower, Jim says the SCOTUS ruling has given him two concrete rewards.
“I can reapply for the $225 social security payout from John’s benefits. Obviously it’s not a lot of money, but the principle means a lot.
The other, perhaps more important benefit: He can now be buried with his husband—John’s family’s burial plot only allows for the interring of descendants and spouses, something Jim is now legally recognized as.
“John can rest in peace now—truly in peace.”