May 7,1975: gay couples get marriage licenses
When Boulder County, Colo., became the first jurisdiction in the United States to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 1975, The Advocate covered the story, which garnered much less attention than San Francisco’s recent move to wed gay couples. While San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom gave an order that has resulted in thousands of same-sex marriages in the City by the Bay, Boulder County clerk Clela Rorex took matters into her own hands after securing an option from the district attorney’s office that Colorado law allowed her to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
Despite harassment and ridicule, including a man who asked for a marriage license for himself and his horse, Rorex issued licenses to gay couples for about a month before a legal opinion by state attorney general J.D. MacFarlane put an end to the practice. Only six same-sex couples were married. Among them were longtime gay rights activists Anthony Sullivan and Richard Adams, who are profiled in this issue.
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