20th Century Fox is developing a movie based on the U.S. Supreme Court's historic ruling that legalized same-sex marriage. The studio's division Fox 2000 has acquired life rights to Jim Obergefell, lead plaintiff in the monumental lawsuit that led to the ruling, and his lawyer, Al Gerhardstein, along with rights to 21 Years to Midnight, a book proposal penned by Obergefell and journalist Debbie Cenziper, The New York Times reports.
Fox 2000 has partnered with Temple Hill producers Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen (The Fault in Our Stars, the Twilight series) for the project. 21 Years to Midnight has been submitted to publishers, and a deal is reportedly expected to be finalized "as soon as this week." The studio's next move is hiring a screenwriter to work with Obergefell and Cenziper, and the final film isn't expected for at least two years.
"It's a transcendent love story about someone who goes to such a length for love that he ends up changing the world," Godfrey told The New York Times.
In 2013, Obergefell, an Ohio real estate agent, married his partner John Arthur in Maryland. After Arthur died that same year, Ohio refused to list Oberrgefell on his spouse's death certificate, leading to the lawsuit. In a landmark 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled last month that "same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry" in all 50 states.
"Excluding same-sex couples from marriage thus conflicts with a central premise of the right to marry," wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy. "Without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser....The marriage laws at issue here thus harm and humiliate the children of same-sex couples."