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Meet Hollywood’s Newest Hero: The Winner in Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Decision

R Kurtz-cc

John Burger - published on 07/09/15 - updated on 06/08/17

Fox purchases life rights of James Obergefell, who is working on autobiography

Hollywood, American television, and much of the rest of pop culture has embraced the gay rights agenda for decades. And now that that agenda has achieved an important milestone, the motion picutre industry is preparing to tell the story of the man who took his gay "marriage" case all the way to the Supreme Court.

20th Century Fox said Tuesday that it had bought the life rights of Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the case that bears his name and which led to the high court forcing all 50 states to accept same-sex "marriage, the New York Times reported. Obergefell’s lawyer, Al Gerhardstein, sold his life rights as well.

Obergefell reportedly is collaborating on a book, “21 Years to Midnight,” with Washington Post reporter Debbie Cenziper, and Fox has also secured screen rights to the work, even though it has not yet been written, the Times said. A publishing deal could be announced this week.

Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen will produce the movie. The project will be handled by Fox 2000, a division known for literary adaptations like “Life of Pi” and “The Devil Wears Prada.”

“It’s a transcendent love story about someone who goes to such a length for love that he ends up changing the world,” Mr. Godfrey said in a phone interview. His producing credits include “The Fault in Our Stars,” which took in more than $307 million worldwide last year….

A finished film is at least two years away. Fox 2000 will next work to find a screenwriter to collaborate with Mr. Obergefell and Ms. Cenziper.

Cenziper has a familial relationship to Obergefell, whose late boyfriend, John Arthur, was a cousin of her first husband. In 2013, Obergefell and Arthur, living in Ohio, traveled to Maryland, where same-sex "marriage" was legal at the time. They had their "wedding" on board a medical transport plane because Arthur was suffering from ALS. The plane remained on the tarmac during the ceremony so the two could be "legally wed," but returned to Ohio, which refused to recognize the "marriage." Arthur died three months later, and Obergefell sued the state of Ohio so that he could be listed the surviving spouse.

“This is just an amazing story, and I feel privileged to have him trust me to help tell it in a narrative nonfiction book,” she told the Times. 

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