This Colorado Courthouse Issued Marriage Licences For Same-Sex Couples Over 40 Years Ago

When she was a clerk, Clela Rorex granted six LGBT+ couples licences to wed in 1975.

Boulder County Courthouse

The Boulder County Courthouse has recently been honoured for its contribution to LGBT+ life in the United States for issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples in 1975.

A plaque was presented to the building on Friday, January 4.

The courthouse joined the likes of the Stonewall Inn and the Dr Franklin E. Kamey Residence as places of importance with regards to LGBT+ history.

Clela Rorex, the clerk who issued licences to same-sex couples was present at the ceremony. A young gay couple approached Rorex and asked if they could be granted a marriage licence. As state law did not specifically prohibit same-sex couples from marrying, Rorex agreed to give them licences. She issued marriage licences to up to six different LGBT+ couples before she was ordered to stop by the attorney general of Colorado.

At the presentation of the plaque to the courthouse, Rorex spoke about how she faced discrimination as a woman in the public sector and therefore was naturally empathetic to the LGBT+ people who sought her help:

“As a woman, I’m asking for equal rights. How can I deny someone else? It just felt like the right thing to do. I’ve never changed my mind. All these years, I never wished I hadn’t made that decision.”

Rorex also spoke about the significance of the recognition:

“I want this plaque to symbolise a notice that people who are in the LGBT community are safe here in Boulder.”

The executive director of LGBT+ organisation Out Boulder County Mardi Moore spoke about how Rorex faced opposition during her time as a clerk:

“She experienced a lot of hateful people when she started issuing those licences. I know why I’m in the fight. It’s for selfish reasons. She had no dog in the fight, she stood up.”

Jared Polis surprises Clela Rorex at the ceremony in the courthouse

The event was attended by the governor-elect of Colorado, Jared Polis. Polis is the first openly gay governor in United States history.

Polis told the Daily Camera:

“It’s so exciting to acknowledge Boulder County’s role in the history of the equality movement. Clela was truly ahead of her time.”

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