Colorado Gov. Jared Polis continues to make LGBTQ political history. In 2008, he became the first openly gay man ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. A decade later, he became the first openly gay man elected to the position of state governor. And now, with his marriage to his long-time partner Marlon Reis, Polis has become the first governor to take part in a same-sex wedding ceremony while still actively in elected service.
On Wednesday, Sept. 15, the couple was married in a traditional Jewish ceremony conducted at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
In an interview with NPR’s Bente Birkeland, Reis said of his now husband’s notable legacy: “Over the course of Jared’s career in Congress, you know, we didn’t set out to be the first of anything. Things sort of happened that way.”
According to Birkeland, “Polis and Reis decided to hold their wedding on a significant day to them personally: the 18th anniversary of their first date. They picked CU-Boulder because that’s where Reis graduated from college.”
Reflecting back on that day, Reis said, “We met online and went out on a date, and we went to the Boulder bookstore and then went to dinner.”
Little did either of them know at that time that marriage would eventually lie in their future.
“As I was growing up, marriage was not even in the realm of possibility,” Reis recalled to Birkeland. “In fact, the reality was that there was a lot of misinformation out there about what could potentially happen if you came out — what opportunities would you lose, how it would negatively impact you. So, for a long time, the idea of getting married, we didn’t talk about it.”
Eighteen years later, Reis said he couldn’t be happier with their decision and the joy it brought to not only them but also their 7-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son.
Like a proud father, Polis said the couple’s daughter, who served as the flower girl in the wedding ceremony, was “probably more thrilled than anyone” about their wedding.
“She’s been prancing around. She got a great dress. She’s terrific,” Polis said.
On the other hand, their son, who served as the ring bearer, was said to be a bit more ambivalent about the day.
“Kids are so modern that their responses to things are sometimes funny,” Reis said. “Our son honestly asked us, ‘Why do people get married?'”
The couple said they explained not just the legal side of things and the rights marriage brings but also the emotional attachment it offers as an “expression of the caring that you feel for one another.”
So far, the couple told the press, they couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out.
“People could say we took 18 years to get around to it, or you could say we took six years to get around to it,” Polis joked, counting backward from the day the Supreme Court officially legalized LGBTQ marriage in 2015. “But [either way],” he added, “it was great to celebrate our love for one another with our family.”