Fox 2000 is developing a movie about the plaintiff in the June 26 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court case that effectively legalized same-sex marriage.
Fox has acquired the life rights of Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit that went to the court. The studio has also bought life rights to Obergefell’s attorney Al Gerhardstein.
“It’s reassuring to learn that what I was told as a child is true: One person — or two people, in our case — really can change the world,” Obergefell wrote in a guest column in Variety‘s Special Issue on marriage equality, published three days after the ruling.
The Fox 2000 division has set up the project with producers Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen through their Temple Hill banner. Their credits include the five “Twilight” films and “The Fault in Our Stars.”
The studio has also bought the movie rights to a book proposal by Obergefell and journalist Debbie Cenziper, to be titled “21 Years to Midnight.”
In the June 26 ruling, the Supreme Court found by a 5-to-4 vote that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.
Obergefell married John Arthur in Maryland in 2013, three months before Arthur died. The state of Ohio refused to list Obergefell as his spouse on the death certificate, so Obergefell sued.
In the recent guest column for Variety, Obergefell recounted how he and his husband had decided to take on the state of Ohio over its same-sex marriage ban.
“We decided to stand up for our marriage and to no longer accept being treated as second-class citizens,” he said. “We filed suit against the state of Ohio to demand recognition of our lawful, out-of-state marriage on John’s impending death certificate. Our decision, motivated by pain and anger, created a chain of results I never expected. The obvious result of that decision is my trip to the United States Supreme Court as the named plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark case about the right to marry throughout our country.
“What I didn’t expect on my way to that courtroom was to discover how much our story and our fight resonated with people across the country. People stop me to say thanks, to tell me their story, to talk about a loved one, to offer condolences, or to simply hug me.”
Cenziper won a Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for local reporting for the Miami Herald. She currently works for the Washington Post.
The news about the movie was first reported by the New York Times.