Gay Marriage: Clela Rorex Is A Super Hero | Jive in the [415] Blog | Gay LGBT News Political Commentary

July 24, 2014

Gay Marriage: Clela Rorex Is A Super Hero

Sue Larson (L) and her friend Clela Rorex (R)

AUDIO: Clela Rorex, a former County Clerk in Boulder, Colorado, tells her friend Sue Larson about issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples in 1975.
I read about Clela Rorex a few weeks ago, and her story made me tear up, and I nearly cried. This four minute audio story is amazing. Imagine it’s 1975, and two gay men come to your office to get a marriage license.

Clela Rorex tells the story to her friend Sue Larson, and you can listen to it, and read the transcript, if you click on “READ MORE.” 

Clela Rorex (CR): The couple came in, they asked for marriage license. And it’s the first time I met openly gay people. I said “I don’t know if I can do this.” And at that point I went to the district attorney and he said the Colorado marriage code did not specify that marriage had to be between a man and a woman. And therefore I did it.

I honestly did not anticipate the degree of hate. It was threats--People needed to kill me for doing this, and that kind of stuff. And I had entire church congregations writing me that it would be Sodom and Gomorrah in the area. I had a small son, he was about eight, and people would call on the phone and, if he answered, they’d spiel their hatred to him.

And one day I walked into my office. I was standing and looking out my window and this horse trailer drives up and some media vans. This cowboy gets out. All of a sudden it just dawned on me, he was gonna ask for a marriage license for his horse. My deputy and I were flipping through the marriage code like crazy--You know, what are we gonna do? So the cowboy comes in, and asked for a marriage license and I started taking information. I ask him his name and Dolly’s name, Dolly was the horse. And I said, “And how old is Dolly?” He said, “Eight.” And I put my pen down, calm as could be, and said, “Well, I’m sorry, but that’s too young without parental approval.” (Laughter)

But what didn’t feel good was my actions made me kind of a laughing stock. And you know I didn’t see through my term in office. I would not have gotten re-elected anyway.

Sue Larson (SL): Well, there are some people out here who know what a big deal that was and what a stand you took.

CR: (Laughs) Thanks Sue, but I just was this young women in this place at this point in time. And thank goodness I made that decision, because it would be so hard for me to look myself in the mirror today, if I had not made the decision then.

About StoryCorps:

StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.

Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 45,000 interviews with nearly 90,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to our weekly broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition and on our Listen pages.

straight talk in a queer world.  

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