US Courthouse That Gave First Same-sex Wedding License Made a Historic Landmark
The Colorado courthouse that hosted the US’ first ever same-sex wedding has been recognized for its role in LGBTI history.
The federal government recognized the Colorado Boulder County Courthouse and added it to the National Register of Historic Places. The only other LGBTI venues included on the register include the Stonewall Inn in New York and the Dr. Franklin E. Kameny Residence in Washington, D.C.
In 1975, the courthouse gave a marriage licence to a gay couple who came in asking to get married. As news of that spread, more same-sex couples approached the courthouse to get a licence.
Clela Rorex was the Boulder county clerk at the time and issued a total of six marriage licences to same-sex couples. But the then state Attorney-General ordered her to stop giving them out. He told Rorex the licences were not valid, according to a report on NBC.
Rorex has sought the opinion of Boulder County district attorney in 1975 before granting the first licence. The DA at the time said Colorado’s laws did not explicitly bar giving marriage licences to same-sex couples.
On Friday (4 January) the courthouse unveiled a plaque to commemorate its addition to the National Register of Historic Places.
Speaking at the plaque unveiling ceremony, Rorex, 75, explained why she issued the marriage licences.
‘As a woman, I’m asking for my equal rights,’ Rorex said.
‘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 wanted the plaque to have meaning for today’s LGBTI people.
‘I want this plaque to symbolize … a notice that people who are in the LGBT community are safe here in Boulder County,’ she said.
In a sign that times have changed Colarado’s newly sworn in governor – and the country’s first openly gay governor – attended the plaque unveiling.
‘It’s so exciting to acknowledge Boulder County’s role in the history of the equality movement,’ Jared Polis said at the event.