Columbus, Ohio Jim Obergefell is hopeful he and fellow Democrats will make gains in the Ohio Statehouse this year with a message based in equality. His landmark lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage on a national level.
Can’t we all just get along and respect each other like humans, is basically what it all boils down to. Can’t we all just be good people? On a recent summer evening, the former celebrity plaintiff who is now running for Ohio House informed the Democratic Women of Erie County. We are all deserving of being included in We the People.
For a state legislative seat serving Ohio’s Lake Erie coast through Ottawa and Erie counties, Obergefell, 56, faces no challengers in a primary on Tuesday. He is already preparing for his November opponent, Sandusky attorney and second-term Republican Rep. D.J. Swearingen, 36, who has centered his campaign on kitchen table problems.
Obergefell is running for politics for the first time after transitioning from activism. He’s running for office at a delicate time for the LGBTQ rights movement after the U.S. Supreme Court in June repealed the constitutional right to abortion, stoked concerns that other rights, like same-sex marriage, may also be threatened.
In light of this, the U.S. House voted AA3 to pass legislation safeguarding same-sex and multiracial unions. The Senate is debating the proposed law.
In Ohio, Obergefell’s call for inclusion is colliding with a contentious political scene. The primary election itself had to be split due to a divisive and drawn-out political mapmaking dispute, with a federal panel of judges ultimately setting the date and imposing maps that a separate court has declared unconstitutional. Legal disputes still exist.
According to Daves Redistricting App, a political mapmaking website, GOP mapmakers redrawn the 89th House District, which Obergefell is running for, and the district now has a roughly 57 percent Republican lean. In a state that former President Donald Trump twice won with significant percentages and where Republicans hold sway over every department of government, this ought to work in Swearingen’s advantage.
However, Obergefell seems to still pose a threat. According to campaign finance reports, he outraised Swearingen more than 4 to 1 and is the most well-known state legislative candidate on Ohio’s 2022 ballot. He is also one of the state’s top legislative fundraisers overall.
That’s partly because of the backing he’s received from a wide range of wealthy national progressive organizations, including the LGBTQ Victory Fund, the Human Rights Campaign, Democracy for America, and in-state donors.
According to Obergefell, voters will be more receptive to the Democratic Party’s message of inclusivity if they perceive the party to be outspoken, forthright, and unambiguous about its beliefs and the causes it would fight to defend.
Voters in the district, according to Swearingen, are more concerned with economic issues than social ones.
Gas, food, and feeding their family are issues that individuals keep bringing up to me that are very pertinent and significant to them. He answered, “They’re right in front of them.” Social issues don’t seem to be at the top of the list.
Darlene Walk, a native of Sandusky and vice president of the Democratic Women of Erie County, disagrees. She stated that she will support Obergefell and that she is urging friends of all political stripes to do the same.
We were prepared for a shift, she added, and you have to embrace people for who they are, including who they are, where they are, what they do, and what they stand for. He also supports advancement.