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The lead plaintiff in a landmark SCOTUS case says marriage equality is at stake

River to River, hosted by Ben Kieffer

Jim Obergefell and John Arthur married on a medical jet in 2013. Upon touching down in Maryland, the Ohio couple could legally marry before Arthur succumbed to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, months later.

But by Ohio law, Obergefell would not be listed on Arthur's death certificate as his spouse. The resulting lawsuit would lead to the Supreme Court decision that legalized marriage for gay couples. Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in this case, joins River to River host Ben Kieffer to discuss his part in the landmark decision and his continued advocacy for LGBTQ rights following the case.

Later, Kieffer speaks with IPR education reporter Grant Gerlock about recent legislation that would direct K-12 schools to add lessons on gun safety and Studio One host Mark Simmet helps listeners groove into the weekend with tracks from Beck and Django Django.


  • Jim Obergefell, American civil rights advocate, lead plaintiff Obergefell V. Hodges
  • Grant Gerlock, education reporter, Iowa Public Radio
  • Mark Simmet, Studio One host, Iowa Public Radio
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Dani Gehr is a producer for River to River and Talk of Iowa. Dani came to Iowa from her hometown in the northwest suburbs of Chicago to attend Iowa State University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in journalism, international studies and French. Before coming to IPR, Dani covered local government in Story County for the Ames Tribune and Des Moines Register.