A pair connected to the historic cases paving the way for the legalization of same-sex marriage five years ago endorsedon Friday. “We won that fight for the freedom to marry because of an ally in the White House, Joe Biden,” Jim Obergefell and Judith Kasen-Windsor said in a joint statement given to CBS News, calling Biden the LGBTQ community’s “greatest ally.”
Obergefell was the plaintiff in the historic 2015 case that made gay marriage legal and Kasen-Windsor is the widow to the plaintiff whose case in 2013 rendered the Defense Against Marriage Act illegal.
Biden was vice president when the Obama White House lit up in rainbow colors to celebrate the 2015 decision. It was Biden’s early backing of legalizing gay marriage in 2012 that pushed then-President Obama to eventually come out in support of marriage equality.
“He is the leader our country needs so desperately right now, someone who can bridge the divides that Donald Trump has worked so hard to dredge,” Obergefell and Kasen-Windsor wrote.
Obergefell in 2015 was seeking the right to be listed on the death certificate of his late husband, Arthur, as their marriage in Maryland was not recognized in their state of Ohio. His story was one of the marquee elements in the joint case heard before the Supreme Court that year.
Kasen-Windsor is the widow of the late Edie Windsor, whose tax case over widower benefits led to the overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage on the federal level as as between one man and one woman and was overturned by the Supreme Court on June 26, 2013. That decision is seen as paving the way for the 2015 Obergefell case.
Now, both their names — and love — are intrinsically connected to the historic push for LGBTQ equality in America.
“Joe Biden is a man of empathy, compassion and grace. In governing from these values, he will restore the dignity of the office and our country’s standing in the world,” the two wrote marking the end of Pride Month, “He is a man who realizes that we are not a static society. Our culture is ever changing and we must change with it.”
During the primary campaign, Biden was commonly thanked for his early support of same-sex marriage. Before the Supreme Court ruling earlier this month that barred workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, Biden was outspoken about the inequities facing LGBTQ employees in the workforce.
In a new get-out-the-vote initiative for LGBTQ Americans, Biden’s campaign hopes they can turn out the estimated 11 million LGBTQ adults to support Biden in key battleground states.