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Former Boulder county clerk Clela Rorex was the first to say okay to same-sex marriages in Boulder. In 1975, she issued marriage licenses to 6 couples before being stopped.
The first couple that showed up on her doorstep were the first gays that she had ever met. Her attempt to issue them a license for marriage apparently caused a “national uproar.” She was told that the licenses were invalid. She turned to her district attorney for guidance, but there was no help offered. 40 years later, all she can do is play the “I told you so” card. She claims that she wouldn’t have done anything differently. She explains that the incident completely occupied every aspect of her life during its occurrence. Rorex believed that ever since the Supreme Court threw out a portion of DOMA in 2013, gay marriage had been “legal” in the U.S. She was quoted in an article I read in the Denver County News, “Why do we have to keep having political discussions about it? Legal cases about it? Why continue the charade of saying that marriage equality is not here? It’s been decided numerous times.” She was one of the first to pursue legal actions on the basis of her beliefs that marriage equality is purely a civil rights and human rights issue. She portrays a great deal to courage to do something like this decades before it became recognized as legal and proper, and with the knowledge that it would likely cause turmoil amongst the government and the public.
In June of 2014 the current Boulder county clerk, Hillary Hall, issued marriage licenses after a court of appeals ruling that Utah’s gay marriage ban violates the constitution.
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She endured a long but worthwhile battle with John Suthers, the Colorado Attorney General, who sued her office to stop Hall from issuing the licenses. Hall, who grew up in Boulder, was elected as the Clerk in 2006 and started her first term in 2007 and her second in 2011. She expressed her frustration with what Rorex went through in 1975, but was excited to announce the progress we’ve made with gay rights ever since.
Jean Dubofsky is a former attorney who has represented litigants in state and federal courts. She got her undergrad degree from Stanford University, and then went on to graduate Harvard Law School. She is now a retired grandmother.
She primarily deals with constitutional, commercial, criminal, civil rights, and family law cases. In 1975, Dubofsky was appointed Deputy Attorney General for Colorado. She served as a justice on the Colorado Supreme Court from 1979-1987 as the first woman and youngest person ever appointed to the court. She was also lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the Romer v. Evans case, which was a milestone U.S. supreme court case. It was the first Supreme Court Case to address gay rights since Bowers v. Hardwick, a controversial anti-sodomy law. In Romer V. Evans, the Court ruled in a 6-3 decision that “a state constitutional amendment in Colorado preventing protected status based upon homosexuality or bisexuality did not satisfy the Equal Protection Clause.” Amendment 2 prevented gays and lesbians from obtaining redress for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Dubofsky expressed her absolute hatred and confusion for such an amendment during the lecture. She called it “the most ridiculous law ever made.” Listening to these women speak was a privilege. They’re three influential individuals who ultimately showed that you can make a significant difference as an individual if you stand up for your beliefs.
Journalism & Political Science major at the University of Denver, class of 17'. CO resident, born and raised in CT.