As Boulder County Clerk, Clela Rorex Issued the First Same-Sex Marriage License in the U.S. in March 1975
Denver — Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper and Colorado U.S. Representative Joe Neguse introduced a resolution to designate March 26, 2023, as “Clela Rorex Day.”
In April 1975, 40 years before the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, the Boulder County Clerk issued the first marriage license to a same-sex couple. At the time, Colorado State laws did not expressly prohibit granting a marriage license to a same-sex couple. Mrs. Rorex, continued to advocate on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community for the remainder of her time in public service and throughout her life.
In 2016, Mrs. Rorex said, "After having been so deeply involved in the women’s rights movements, who was I to then deny a right to anyone else? It wasn’t my job to legislate morality." Clela passed away last summer in Longmont, Colorado. She was 78 years old.
The resolution states:
“That the [Congress]—recognizes—the contributions of Clela Rorex as a pioneer for civil rights and same-sex marriage; the respect and bravery Clela had when issuing the first same-sex marriage license in the United States; and the courage Clela exhibited following the threats she received when she issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples; and expresses support for the designation of ‘Clela Rorex Day’.”
“Allies who take brave acts for the LGBTQ+ community must be celebrated and honored. Clela's issuance of the marriage licenses in 1975 was beyond brave. Honoring Clela Rorex with a national annual celebration is right for our country and right for the ongoing struggle to secure equality and justice for all,” said Mardi Moore, Executive Director of Out Boulder County.
In addition to Bennet, Hickenlooper, and Neguse, the resolution is supported by the Democratic members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation, including U.S. Representatives Dianna DeGette, Jason Crow, Brittany Pettersen, and Yadira Caraveo.The text of the resolution is available HERE.