SAGE: Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders
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For Immediate Release

February 5, 2018

SAGE Board of Directors Welcomes Jim Obergefell

Groundbreaking LGBT activist and leader bolsters SAGE’s commitment to LGBT elders

[New York] SAGE, the nation’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT elders, is proud to announce that Jim Obergefell, the named plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges that brought marriage equality to the United States in 2015, is joining its Board of Directors.

“We are deeply honored to add Jim’s expertise and energy to our board,” says Michael Adams, SAGE's CEO. “Having accompanied Jim and our beloved friend Edie Windsor on a groundbreaking journey toward marriage equality, we continue to be awed by Jim’s unwavering commitment and outspoken voice in support of the entire LGBT community.”

Elizabeth F. Schwartz, SAGE board co-chair, adds, “The LGBT movement has achieved great change by telling our stories. Jim Obergefell shared the painful passing of his husband, and his fight to be recognized as a spouse brought us marriage equality. Jim’s decision to bring his big heart and sharp mind to SAGE’s board speaks volumes about his continuing work toward equality for our most vulnerable community.”

Obergefell says, “I’m excited to serve on the board of an organization that does so much to help those who paved the way for younger LGBTQ generations. Our elders’ courage and sacrifices helped create a more supportive and welcoming world for us, and SAGE fights to ensure that they are able to enjoy the same. It’s an honor to work with SAGE on their behalf.”

Obergefell and husband John Arthur launched their marriage equality legal battle with the state of Ohio in 2013, demanding recognition of their lawful marriage—they had wed in Maryland—on Arthur’s impending death certificate. Arthur died of ALS three months after their first court hearing, and Obergefell continued their fight all the way to the Supreme Court.

After careers in teaching, training, IT consulting, and real estate, Obergefell is now a full-time LGBT activist, speaker, and author, as well as an entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of Equality Vines, the first cause-based wine label, which supports organizations devoted to civil rights and equality.

He also co-wrote the book Love Wins with Debbie Cenziper, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist with the Washington Post. The book, published by William Morrow/Harper Collins, shares the stories of the lovers and lawyers who participated in the historic Supreme Court case. Temple Hill Productions/Fox 2000 Pictures bought the movie rights for the book and will produce a feature film based on it.

In addition to his SAGE Board of Directors role, Obergefell is a member of the National Advisory Board for the GLBT Historical Society and the Board of Advisors for the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C.

Since the Supreme Court ruling, Obergefell, who resides in Washington, D.C., has been honored with awards from organizations such as Equality Florida, Equality North Carolina, the ACLU of Southern California, Cleveland Stonewall Democrats, Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, SAGE, the Ohio Democratic Party, the Santa Clara University School of Law, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the City of Cincinnati, and more. Foreign Policy magazine named Obergefell one of its 2015 Global Thinkers, and Out magazine named him to its 2015 Out 100 list.

SAGE is the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people. SAGE also offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older adults and their caregivers, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and cultural competence training through SAGECare. With staff located across the country, SAGE coordinates a growing network of affiliates across the country. Learn more at

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