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Former Colorado county clerk who issued first same-sex marriage license in 1975 dies at 78 during Pride Month

Chris Cleary

A former Colorado county clerk who became the first public official to issue a same-sex marriage license in 1975, has died at the age of 78.

Clela Rorex died Sunday of complications from recent surgery, according to The Daily Camera newspaper.

Rorex was a newly elected Boulder County clerk when a same-sex couple denied a marriage license elsewhere sought her help in March 1975. The then-31-year-old agreed and went on to issue six licenses to same-sex couples before Colorado’s attorney general ordered her to stop.

Colorado legalized same-sex marriage in 2014. A 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision recognized the fundamental right nationwide.

Rorex became a symbol of LGBTQ+ rights and showed up to every Pride parade in Boulder before her death which occurred apropos during this year’s Pride Month.