“March 26, 1975, the first same-sex marriage licenses in the United States were heroically issued in Boulder by County Clerk, Clela Rorex.”

Via on Feb 2, 2009

Gay marriage ain’t about being gay, or straight, or even marriage for that matter. It’s a matter fundamental to being an active citizen of a caring democracy: it’s about Civil Rights. As John Donne put it, far more eloquently:

“All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated…As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness….No man is an island, entire of itself…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

Or, as MLK Jr. put it:

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

In other words, we endanger our own rights when we seek to limit, or pardon the limiting of another’s rights.

A moving article in Boulder, Colorado’s Daily Camera, by Gregory Hinton. Excerpt:

Gays, Lesbians, Transexuals, Bisexuals, Queers (GLTBQs) who long for stability, family, and social inclusion are..

I have been out since Spring Break, Boulder, 1974. I informed my parents, right away.

A young theology student, goaded by his spiritual advisor, called my parents and threatened to drive me from Boulder with “whips and chains.” Pretty heavy, huh? I kept thinking, but this is Boulder! Who talks like this? Help came from my extraordinary family. We circled the wagons but did not engage in a circular firing squad.

One year later, on March 26, 1975, the first same-sex marriage licenses in the United States were heroically issued in Boulder by County Clerk, Clela Rorex. Six weddings occurred. All were overturned later that same year. Coincidentally, I met one of the couples twenty-five years later in Hollywood.

What are the odds?

I find myself wondering, if same-sex marriage had been available to the aforementioned gay husbands, would they have picked a same-sex soul mate and tied the knot?

Would they have cheated on their same-sex spouses and made them cry?

Would the wives have made heterosexual marriages and been happier?

After my first gay relationship exploded from outside evangelical pressures, and instead of two-against-the-world it felt like just me-against-the-world, I vowed never to go near a gay man again. I became involved with a fantastic, beautiful, self-actualized woman. It was a complex relationship, among my best. I thought we were very evolved.

When she moved to Aspen to sing and ski, I met a man in the pool of the CU Recreation Center. I confessed right away, suggesting she see Ken Russell’s “Women in Love.” Standing alone in a snowy line, she came to her senses, and didn’t stay for the Feature Presentation.

She’s happy, far away, still singing and skiing with a son she adores.

As for me, after 20 years with the same partner–(not the pool guy, who turned out to be a sadistic closet-case) I am happy, too.

“The Trials of Ted Haggard,” the exploitative, unsatisfactory new documentary by Alexandra Pelosi (if possible, more annoying than her mom Nancy) reminded me of old times. As I watched I fell towondering about my older friends in long-term Lavender Marriages. Were they watching? If so, what advice will they have for the Haggard family?

To read the beginning and end of the above, go to The Daily Camera.

Did you know elephantjournal.com’s hometown of Boulder, Colorado was the first in the US to issue a same-sex marriage license? I didn’t, until reading the above. And, frankly, I found it hard to believe…until my FB buddy Regina Cowles emailed me this link. Excerpt:

County Clerk Issues Gays Marriage License

Two Colorado Springs men were issued a marriage license Wednesday afternoon at the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder’s Office. The case is apparently the first in Colorado in which a marriage license has been granted to homosexuals.Dave McCord and Dave Zamora, both 27, were issued the license in Boulder County after they had been refused in El Paso County.

Boulder County Clerk Clela Rorex’ decision to grant the license was based on a March 26 memorandum from the Boulder District Attorney’s Office which said That the issuance of a license to persons of the same sex was not specifically prohibited under Colorado law.

Assistant District Attorney William C. Wise, who wrote the memorandum, said the issuance of such license was up to the Judgment of local county clerks, since the matter is not defined in the statutes.

“There is no statutory law prohibiting the issuance of a license, probably because the situation was simply not contemplated in the past by our legislature. The case law is strongly on the side of the public official that refuses to issue a marriage license in these situations, and a public official could not be prosecuted for violation of any criminal law by such marriage licensing,” Wise wrote.

The section defining circumstances which invalidate a marriage mentions blood relations and bigamy but does not mention the sex of the parties involved, Wise said.

Wise said Wednesday’s licensing was the first case he had heard of.

County Clerk Rorex said her decision to issue the license was “strictly an administrative decision. I am not in violation of any law and it is not for me to legislate morality and not give persons a license if I so desire.”

Rorex said she would continue to issue licenses in similar cases as long as it is legal.

The ambiguity of the state statutes, Rorex said, “points out negligence at the state level at keeping the laws concurrent with the times.”

The licensing was handled as a routine office matter, she said, with both McCord and Zamora fulfilling all state requirements, including a blood test.

“Too many public officials are concerned with their public image and therefore shy away from controversial issues,” the clerk said.

McCord and Zamora have lived together in Colorado Springs for over four years. They received a certificate of marriage in October 1973, from the now defunct Faith Metropolitan Community Church in Colorado Springs.

However, it was not until recently they decided to make their marriage legal.

They applied for a license at the El Paso County Clerk’s Office, but according to McCord, were told by an employee; “We do not do that here in El Paso County, but if you want to, go to Boulder County, they might do it there.”

El Paso County Clerk Harriet Beals said this morning that the men’s request had been refused because it is not provided for under Colorado law.

“The Colorado Marriage license law is not set up to write marriage licenses for persons of the same sex.” Mrs. Beals said the law addressed itself to males and females, and added that her office would change its policy only when the state law was changed to accomodate pereons of the same sex.

Rorex said the district attorney’s opinion opened the door for future licensing. “If it’s legal, I will do it,” she said.

Boulder Gay Marriage vs. the INS; Dave McCord is Born Again

Deb Price Column about Clela Rorex and Boulder Gay Marriages

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4 Responses to ““March 26, 1975, the first same-sex marriage licenses in the United States were heroically issued in Boulder by County Clerk, Clela Rorex.””

  1. Regina Cowles at 1:24pm February 2
    Because of our wonderful Clerk Clela Rorex. Check it out.
    http://www.geocities.com/WestHollywood/Stonewall/1676/1975Marriages/1975_03_27Camera.html

    Bud Wilson at 1:35pm February 2
    Do you know Charles Fletcher? He may still work with Danny Mack on the Pearl Street Mall. If anyone would know the answer to your question, he would. He founded the Boulder County Aids program years ago. By the way, Jeff Markel suggested that you and I should get together soon. Bud

    Cris Jones at 1:56pm February 2
    This is true, and legend also has it that shortly after this license was issued, a gentleman from Wyoming arrived at the Boulder County Courthouse with his horse and requested, tongue in cheek, that Ms. Rorex also formalize their relationship with a marriage license. Seeing that there were also no restrictions on marriages between different species, Ms. Rorex proceeded with the processing of the license. When she asked the gentleman how old the horse was, he replied: “13″ She responded with: “I’m sorry sir, but the State of Colorado requires parental consent in order to marry anyone under the age of 18.” The license was denied. :)

    Waylon Hart Lewis at 2:00pm February 2
    looove it, Cris. I still can’t believe Boulder was the first in the US to issue a same sex marriage license. Amazing. That should be a huge point of pride, we should commemorate that with a statue or something!?

  2. Generally I don’t read article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do it! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thanks, quite nice article.

  3. [...] I don’t know why Boulder, Colorado’s Assistant District Attorney William C. Wise issued a memorandum on March 26, 1975 which noted that Colorado’s marriage laws were not gender specific. “There is no statutory [...]

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