Colorado Democratic Gov. Jared Polis wed his longtime partner on Wednesday, marking the first same-sex marriage of a sitting United States governor.
In 2018, Polis became the first openly gay man ever elected governor in the U.S. A decade earlier, he was the first openly gay man elected to the U.S. House.
“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,” said his now-husband, Marlon Reis.
As recently as 2014, same-sex marriage was prohibited in Colorado. The U.S Supreme Court made gay marriage legal across the country in 2015.
“As I was growing up, marriage was not even in the realm of possibility,” Reis said. “And 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.”
Both men are now in their 40s. Polis noted the stereotypes that came along with being gay when he was younger.
“When people thought of gay people, they thought of AIDS, unfortunately,” he said. ‘That was, I think, in both of our cases our parents’ first fears, they were like, ‘Oh, I hope you don’t get AIDS. Be careful.’ That’s the main thing you knew about gay people in the ’80s and ’90s.”
The couple was married Wednesday in a traditional Jewish ceremony at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
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.
“We met online and went out on a date and we went to the Boulder bookstore and then went to dinner,” Polis said.
During Wednesday’s ceremony, the couple’s 7-year-old daughter served as the flower girl; their 9-year-old son was the ring bearer.
Polis said their daughter was probably more thrilled than anyone about the wedding.
“She was all in on being a flower girl. She’s been prancing around. She got a great dress. She’s terrific.”
Their son was also happy, but more ambivalent about it all.
“Kids are so modern that their responses to things are sometimes funny. Our son honestly asked us, ‘Why do people get married?’ ” Reis said.
He said he explained the legal rights afforded to married couples and that it’s an “expression of the caring that you feel for one another.”
Practically speaking Reis has been considered the state’s first gentleman since Polis took office, but Polis said the wedding meant the world to them.
“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,” said Polis, counting back from the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.
“But it was great to celebrate our love for one another with our family.”