Book Review: Love Wins by Debbie Cenziper and Jim Obergefell

“No union is more profound than marriage… for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were… [Same-sex couples] ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law and the Constitution grants them that right… No longer may this liberty be denied to them.”

– Justice Kennedy, Supreme Court Judge


Love Wins is the love story behind the David and Goliath battle that won the most important American civil rights victory in decades – and inspired the rest of the world.


Set against a backdrop of Cincinnati, Ohio, the love of two men changed the course of history and gave hope to those who follow in their footsteps.

When Jim’s life-partner John developed ALS, a neurodegenerative disease that eventually took his life, not only was Jim facing the prospect of a life without John, but their long-term relationship meant nothing in the eyes of the law. Despite crossing state lines to get married in a state that recognised same-sex marriage, when they crossed back again, the life they spent together was denied, refusing Jim the right to his name on John’s death certificate, naming him surviving spouse. Jim and John’s story fell into the lap of a relentlessly passionate lawyer Al Gerhardstein, a man who had spent nearly 30 years advocating for civil rights and giving a voice to those who needed it. Over several years, Al, Jim and a team of dedicated people fought to have this right afforded to heterosexual couples, also granted to same-sex partners. Obergefell vs Hodges 2015 went all the way to the Supreme Court and on 26 June 2015, the right for same-sex couples to marry in all 50 states in America was won.

Love Wins recreates the events that lead to legal precedent; one man’s promise to a dying partner changed the lives of so many, becoming a moment of cultural and historical importance. Change doesn’t happen overnight and this amazing book eludes to the countless hours and fights that lead to this momentous decision. Cenziper and Obergefell straddle a well-balanced line of telling a thrilling legal tale woven with a beautiful love story. I was worried that the legal talk would go over my head and while it definitely challenged me at times, I never felt like I didn’t understand what was happening. What got me time and time again was the emotion that drove each and every one of the fifty lawyers and plaintiffs who worked on the case. I cannot help but feel humbled by the passion, determination and unbelievable strength it took each and every of those people to see this case through to the end. Love Wins is suspenseful, hopeful and leads to (eventual) political empowerment. I can only hope that Australia sees the same kind of progress – my fingers and toes are crossed.

I couldn’t put this book down and I really, really hope that you add this to your TBR piles. It will make you laugh, cry and fist pump the air many, many times.

After all, love wins.


AUTHOR: Debbie Cenziper and Jim Obergefell

ISBN: 9781925344554

PUBLISHER: Affirm Press

RRP: $29.99

PUB DATE: June 2016


Thank you to Affirm Press for sending me a reading copy in exchange for an honest review!


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