THE BLOG

Making a Stand - Jim Obergefell, Gay Marriage, and How to Change the World

30/06/2015 10:41 BST | Updated 27/06/2016 10:59 BST

The last twenty four hours has seemed like a rainbow ticker tape parade on my social media feeds. In a landmark ruling the US Supreme Court has made a decision that gay marriage should be recognised in all 50 of the US states. This is a big deal.

The news came on the same day as mass killings in Tunisia and Kuwait and only a week after news of another young man going amok with a gun in the USA. For every piece of good news there seems to be ten pieces of bad - and in many cases it seems like our elected leaders just don't know what to do.

Which is why I think it is important we take a moment to recognise the impact of Jim Obergefell in the US Supreme Courts ruling as it points to the kind of leadership we need if we are going to bring about positive change. The court case didn't come about because of political leaders making change. It came because a couple of human beings who loved each took a stand.

"We wanted the State of Ohio to recognise our lawful Maryland marriage on John's impending death certificate," Jim said. "We wanted respect and dignity for our 20-year relationship and as he lay dying of ALS. John had the right to know his last official record as a person would be accurate."

I spend a lot of my time working with people in positions of leadership. There are many cuts you can take on what distinguishes a great leader from the rest, but the thing that has always stood out for me is that they care about and stand for something that really matters. I don't just mean their performance targets or business outcomes I mean something that actually make a difference in the wider world.

I have worked with so many people over the years, people with big jobs and salaries, who seem unhappy. Those that aren't are always up to something. One of my current clients, a man who could happily retire based on a great career, continues to work on as he is clearly committed to bringing through a new generation of leaders with a global conscience, leaders who might make the world a better place. Not only does his business thrive but he is a man with a zest for life and a spring in his step. These are the people I now seek out.

So here's to Jim Obergefell, not only a man who brought about social change but a role model. His husband John sadly died 20 months before the ruling but he didn't give up. He made a stand for something that mattered not only to himself but would make a difference for many, many others. And that's what really matters at the end of the day.