Watch CBS News

Clela Rorex, who issued 1st same-sex marriage licenses, dies

CBS News Live
CBS News Colorado Live

Clela Rorex, a former Colorado county clerk considered a pioneer in the gay rights movement for being the first public official to issue a same-sex marriage license in 1975, has died. She was 78. 

Out Boulder County

The Daily Camera reports that Rorex died Sunday of complications from recent surgery at a hospice care facility. Rorex was a newly elected Boulder County clerk when a gay 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 gay couples before Colorado's attorney general ordered her to stop. Colorado legalized gay marriage in 2014. A 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision recognized the fundamental right nationwide. 


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.