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July 14, 2022

Boulder County Commissioners sign proclamation declaring July 23, 2022 as Clela Rorex Day

Boulder County, Colo. -- The Boulder County Board of County Commissioners has signed a proclamation declaring July 23, 2022 as Clela Rorex Day in Boulder County.

A Proclamation Declaring July 23, 2022 as Clela Rorex Day in Boulder County

Whereas, former Boulder County Clerk Clela Rorex was the first County Clerk in the United States to successfully issue same-sex marriage licenses; and

Whereas, on March 26, 1975, two men entered the Boulder County Clerk's office and requested a marriage license. Clela sought clarification from the Assistant District Attorney about any Colorado state law or code that would prohibit her from issuing the license to two people of the same sex. When no such prohibition was found, Clela issued the marriage license; and

Whereas, Clela was quoted in 2016 as saying, “After having been so deeply involved in the women’s rights movements, who was I to then deny a right to anyone else? It wasn’t my job to legislate morality.”; and

Whereas, within days of issuing the first same-sex marriage license, local and national news picked up on the story. Over the course of the next month, Clela would issue five more licenses to same-sex couples. As a result, Clela reported receiving hundreds of letters and calls to her office and her home condemning and threatening her; and

Whereas, Clela was later quoted as saying, “My son would sometimes pick up the phone and I could always tell when it was someone calling about the licenses because he would get this terrified look in his eyes. It changed our lives.”; and

Whereas, Clela was never an "armchair ally", but instead a woman ahead of her time, who dedicated much of her life to feminist and LGBTQ+ allyship and advocacy, often volunteering with Out Boulder County and marching in local Pride parades; and

Whereas, Clela passed away on June 19, 2022 in Longmont, Colorado, and will be greatly missed by her sons and countless LGBTQ+ individuals and allies around the world who embrace her and her story as beacons of hope and inspiration.

Now therefore, the Boulder County Board of County Commissioners, on behalf of Boulder County, do hereby proclaim that July 23, 2022 is recognized as Clela Rorex Day in Boulder County, in honor of an exceptional Boulder County resident and advocate for human rights and equality.

Commissioners' names and signatures

Signed July 13, 2022

The proclamation will be read aloud at Clela's memorial service.

To find out more about Clela, you can read her obituary on the Out Boulder County website. To hear Clela's story in her own words, watch this short video from Boulder County.

The Commissioners' e-signatures will be ratified at the Board's Business Meeting on July 26, 2022.

Headshots of three current commissioners in horizontal alignment with their names to the right of each photo