[There was a video here]
In 1975, a county clerk in Boulder, Colorado, did what no person had done before: she granted a marriage license to a same-sex couple. Clela Rorex says when Dave McCord and Dave Zamora asked for a marriage license, she was “faced with a very profound type of moral issue”: “Would I discriminate against two people of the same sex when I had been so involved for the last few years of my life of fighting discrimination against women?”
Rorex courageously began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples that applied, including Filipino American Richard Adams and his Australian partner, Tony Sullivan, whose 40-year battle to simply live in the same place was chronicled in the documentary Limited Partnership, which aired on PBS last night. I recommend watching it (the full doc is in that link), but be warned that it’s super sad and entirely infuriating.
Adams and Sullivan merely wanted to live together, and were met with resistance every step of the way (Sullivan, per the film, remains undocumented). Most notably, when Sullivan was facing deportation in the ‘70s and Adams asked for him to be extended a spouse’s visa, the U.S. government responded with a letter that read in part: “You have failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots.”
Before Rorex was ordered to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, people challenged her with the same snowball-effect rhetoric that bigots throw around today. An “old cowboy” went to her, asking to be married to his “best friend,” a horse named Dolly. Rorex, as she explains in the clip above, asked him Dolly’s age. He told her 8.
“I laid down my pen and said: ‘I’m sorry. Dolly’s underaged,’” she recalls.