National Underground Railroad Freedom Center to Honor Jim Obergefell with Everyday Freedom Hero Award
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CINCINNATI, OH (October 3, 2016) – The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center will honor Jim Obergefell with the Everyday Freedom Hero Award on Saturday, October 22 at 2:00 p.m. in the Harriet Tubman Theater. Obergefell was the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that would legalize same-sex marriage across the United States, Obergefell v. Hodges. The Everyday Freedom Hero Award presentation is free and open to the public. RSVPs are requested as seating is limited. To RSVP, click here.
The Everyday Freedom Hero Award was created to recognize individuals and organizations who strive to live up to the ideals of the Underground Railroad movement—courage, cooperation and perseverance, while using one’s resources for the wellbeing and betterment of their community. Previous honorees include Kerry and Annie Hilton, founders of Freeset Global, the Cincinnati Bengals Organization and Pulitzer Prize–winning historian, Eric Foner.
“On June 26, 2015 the courage, cooperation and perseverance of Jim Obergefell, and his fellow plaintiffs, brought our nation one step closer to true, inclusive freedom,” says National Underground Railroad Freedom Center president, Clarence G. Newsome. “His fight for marriage equality and his ongoing activism for LGBTQ rights makes him a champion of civil rights. It is an honor and a privilege to present Jim with the Everyday Freedom Hero Award and share our thanks with a public presentation.”
Obergefell was the named plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court marriage equality case Obergefell v. Hodges, a case involving more than thirty marriage equality plaintiffs from four states. Circumstances thrust Jim into this role; after marrying John, his partner of more than twenty years, who was dying of ALS, they decided to file suit against the state of Ohio to demand recognition of their lawful Maryland marriage on John’s impending death certificate.
After the Supreme Court ruling made marriage equality the law across the entire United States on June 26, 2015, Obergefell has embraced a career as a speaker with the APA Agency and continued his work as an activist with organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign and Equality Ohio. He has been honored with awards from organizations such as SAGE, Equality Florida, Equality North Carolina, the ACLU of Southern California, Cleveland Stonewall Democrats, The International Court Council, the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and the Ohio Democratic Party. Foreign Policy magazine named Obergefell one of its 2015 Global Thinkers, and Out magazine included him in its 2015 Out 100 list.
“I'm honored to be recognized with the Everyday Freedom Hero Award. I, along with the other plaintiffs in Obergefell v. Hodges, fought for our rights as Americans and our belief in the core American value of equal justice under law. I'm humbled to have become the name and face of marriage equality, as well as one of the many advocates for LGBTQ rights in America,” says Jim Obergefell. “It is especially meaningful for me to receive this award from an institution dedicated to saving, sharing and teaching the history of the Underground Railroad and our nation's long struggle for freedom and human rights. I owe a debt of gratitude not only to my fellow marriage equality plaintiffs, but more importantly to those countless heroes before me who fought for racial, gender and LGBTQ equality.”
Following the award presentation, Obergefell will sign copies of his book, Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality. The book will be available purchase the day of the event.
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center will present Jim Obergefell with the Everyday Freedom Hero Award on Saturday, October 22 at 2:00 p.m. in the Harriet Tubman Theater. The award presentation is free and open to the public. RSVPs are requested as seating is limited. To RSVP, click here.
For more information about the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center’s Everyday Freedom Hero Award, visit freedomcenter.org
ABOUT THE NATIONAL UNDERGROUND RAILROAD FREEDOM CENTER
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at freedomcenter.org, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery, endslaverynow.org.