Terminally Ill Man Marries Partner on Airport Tarmac
After 20 years of commitment, Jim Obergefell and John Arthur have finally married. This union could not have been timelier as Arthur may not have much time left.
"[Arthur] is bedridden with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, a progressive neurological disease that robs patients of their ability to walk, talk and eventually breathe," Cincinnati.com writes. Commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, this degenerative disorder kills most patients within two to five years. John was diagnosed 26 months ago.
With the Supreme Court’s ruling, striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, the couple decided it was finally time to tie the knot but there was just one problem: marriage for same-sex couples has been banned in their home state of Ohio since 2004.
"Health insurance was an ongoing issue for the couple," Cincinnati.com reported. "They had to prepare powers of attorney and other legal documents designed to circumvent the kinds of problems every unmarried couple fears."
The couple considered driving to New York as it is the closest state where they could legally marry. They also considered California, Washington and parts of New England. But the distance was too great, and Arthur had been bedridden since March, unable to leave his home.
They decided on Maryland, as it required only one partner to travel to the state and apply for the marriage license. There was also only a 48-hour waiting period.
With the help of Crossroads Hospice, an organization that gives its members "the gift of a perfect day," and the generous donations of friends, family and co-workers, they raised the $12,700 they needed to charter a medically equipped plane to Baltimore.