Jim Obergefell, the Ohio man who sued the state to recognize his marriage to his dying husband, said in an interview this week that he's still grieving the loss.

Five years ago Friday, the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell that gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry, striking down state laws and constitutional amendments that defined marriage as a heterosexual union.

Obergefell and John Arthur, who was fighting a diagnosis of Lou Gehrig's Disease, married in Maryland after sharing their lives for more than 20 years. Because the disease was in its late stages, the couple married on an airport tarmac in Baltimore. Three months later, Arthur died and Ohio refused to list Obergefell on his death certificate.

Obergefell's case was consolidated with six cases from other states that did not recognize same-sex marriage. Obergefell was the lead plaintiff.

The Supreme Court handed down its much-anticipated ruling on June 26, 2015, throwing Obergefell into the spotlight. Eventually, the whirlwind ended.

“When I found myself not rushing here, there, and everywhere, the grief started to hit, and the loss started to hit,” Obergefell told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I thought I'd worked through a lot of it but when you don't have those other things to keep you busy, you realize you're still grieving.”

“I'm still grieving. I'm still processing,” he said.

The decision to fly to Baltimore to marry – knowing that Ohio law would not recognize the marriage – was an act of protest that turned the couple into civil rights heroes.

Obergefell said this week that the most meaningful part of his life is hearing from young people.

“Young people today are willing to fight on behalf of someone else who's being bullied, being mistreated. The fact that kids are living in a world where they can be much more authentic, I find that stunning,” he said.

“I hope this is the beginning of the end of mistreatment,” he added, referring to recent Black Lives Matter protests.