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Boulder LGBTQ ally Clela Rorex celebrated on what would've been 79th birthday

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Posted at 5:16 PM, Jul 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-23 19:16:51-04

BOULDER, Colo. — The Boulder community celebrated Saturday the life of Clela Rorex on what would've been her 79th birthday.

"It was very moving, very touching, mostly because I was living a whole lot of my own memories, listening to other people talking about her," longtime resident Neil Fishman said.

The former Boulder County clerk died this past June. She cemented her place in history as the first in Colorado to issue a marriage license to a gay couple back in 1975.

"I don't know that I remember hearing her name back in 1975, but I certainly felt her influence when she issued those marriage licenses," Fishman said.

He was one of dozens of esteemed guests gathered at the Boulder Jewish Community Center to honor Rorex's legacy.

Boulder icon remembered for her contribution to marriage equality

"Clela did not want a service. She was very clear she wanted a celebration of life, and what a life it was," Mardi Moore, executive director at Out Boulder County, said.

Last week, Boulder County commissioners proclaimed Saturday, July 23, as "Clela Rorex Day." The acknowledgment is now more important than ever as people in the LGBTQ community fear the U.S. Supreme Court will target same-sex marriage next.

"If the Supreme Court ruling gets overturned, those six marriage licenses that Clela Rorex issued will be the only valid six marriage licenses in the United States of America," Moore said.

This week, the U.S. House passed a bipartisan bill to write same-sex marriage into federal law. Advocates are remaining hopeful the U.S. Senate will follow through.

"I hope that our straight allies in Congress will do some research about what makes our community strong and follow our lead," Moore said.

Regardless of what happens next, Rorex will forever be known as an icon and a woman ahead of her time because of the steps she took decades ago.

"A huge loss," Fishman said. "A loss to everybody."