The White House on Sunday announced
that Jim Obergefell will be among the guests seated with First Lady
Michelle Obama during President Barack Obama's final State of the
Obergefell served as lead plaintiff in
the Supreme Court case that found that gay and lesbian couples have a
constitutional right to marry.
Obergefell in 2013 married his late
husband John Arthur aboard a medical transport plane parked off a
Baltimore, Maryland airport runway. He sued the state of Ohio for
refusing to list him as Arthur's surviving spouse on the death
certificate. Arthur died of ALS in late 2013.
“Jim considers himself an accidental
activist, one who became entwined in a political statement larger
than himself – a statement of equality and dignity that Americans
have been fighting for since this nation's founding – and he now
remains committed to ensuring the civil rights for all Americans,”
the White House said in making the announcement.
Other guests include a Nevada advocate
for homeless veterans, a Syrian refugee, and USAF Sgt. Spencer Stone,
who helped thwart a terrorist attack on a Paris-bound train.
The president often refers to the
people seated with the First Lady during his yearly address.