Interviews

Clela Rorex Planted the Flag for Same-Sex Marriage in Boulder Forty Years Ago

On June 25, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Utah's gay-marriage ban, setting a precedent for states in its jurisdiction, including Colorado, where voters had adopted a ban on same-sex marriages in 2006. Hours later, Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall began issuing same-sex marriage licenses. For weeks, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers threatened Hall with legal action for violating state law. Her office warded him off in court and issued over 200 licenses before the Colorado Supreme Court finally announced on July 29 that it would consider Suthers's arguments in late 2014 -- and ordered Hall to stop issuing licenses in the meantime. Meanwhile, the Utah case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

This summer, Clela Rorex has been watching history repeat itself. Thirty-nine years ago, she was not just the first Boulder county clerk to issue same-sex marriage licenses, but the first clerk to do so anywhere in the country.

See also: A Same-Sex Marriage Plaintiff's Open Letter to John Suthers

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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris