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Jared Polis marries husband Marlon Reis in historic & sweet ceremony

Jared Polis (left) and partner Marlon Reis
Jared Polis (left) and partner Marlon Reis Photo: Polis for Colorado

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) became the first sitting governor in the U.S. to marry his same-sex spouse.

Polis and longtime partner, writer, and activist Marlon Reis, got married yesterday at a ceremony in Boulder.

Related: Vote for Jared Polis in this year’s LGBTQ Nation Heroes!

“The greatest lesson we have learned over the past 18 months is that life as we know it can change in an instant,” Polis wrote on Twitter. “We are thankful for the opportunity to celebrate our life together as a married couple.”

“After 18 years together, we couldn’t be happier to be married at last.”

Polis and Reis first met in 2002, well before Polis was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2008, the first out gay man to be elected to Congress and the second LGBTQ person to do so after then-Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) was elected in 1998.

The men had two children, making Polis the first gay parent to serve in Congress.

In 2018, Polis won the election to become governor of Colorado and became the first out gay governor in the country and the second out LGBTQ governor after Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D).

He led the state through the COVID-19 pandemic and faced attacks from conservatives who compared him to a Nazi for measures he took to stop the spread of the virus last year, all while trying to learn as much as he could about the virus and later help people get vaccinated.

Then he and Reis both tested positive for the virus this past December, and Reis needed to go to the hospital as his symptoms worsened. That’s when Polis proposed.

“I was getting my things ready. My daughter was crying in the corner — she didn’t want me to go,” Reis said earlier this year. “My son was asking me a lot of technical questions: ‘When are you coming back? Do they know exactly what’s wrong?’ It was a very tense moment.”

“It was the absolute perfect time,” he said about Polis getting down on one knee right then. “I said to him, ‘I couldn’t breathe before. Now I really can’t breathe.’”

“It put such a spring in my step. When I got to the hospital I wasn’t scared anymore. I said, ‘I have a great relationship, a great family that I’m going to be coming home to after this.’”

The two were married by Rabbi Tirzah Firestone in a small outdoor ceremony. They wanted to get married in Boulder because that’s the city where they met.

Their daughter was the flower girl at the wedding, and Polis said that she was the person who was the most excited about the ceremony.

“She was all in on being a flower girl,” he told NPR. “She’s been prancing around. She got a great dress. She’s terrific.”

“As I was growing up, marriage was not even in the realm of possibility,” Reis said. Marriage equality was legalized in Colorado in late 2014, years into their relationship and after they had both their children.

“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.”

“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 said. “But it was great to celebrate our love for one another with our family.”

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