Ask Boulder businessman Jared Polis about his personal life, a very fair question given he’s one of the more high-profile candidates running for U.S. Congress in Colorado this year, and he’s very forthright:
"I’m gay. I have partner of four and a half years. I’m not allowed to get married."
No bitterness or rancor, just a matter-of-fact answer from a 33-year-old man who would become the first ever openly gay member of Colorado’s congressional delegation if he can beat out two Democratic opponents in the Aug. 12 primary and then take down Republican aerospace engineer Scott Starin of Lafayette in the November general election.
"Some states are legalizing [gay marriage]," Polis said two days before California did just that despite an unsuccessful attempt by nine Republican state attorneys general, including Colorado’s John Suthers, to delay the California ruling allowing for gay marriages.
Colorado, which just two years ago voted down domestic partnership rights, may forever be referred to with a smirk as "the hate state" after the furor over Amendment 2 in 1992, which amended the state constitution to ban laws giving gays special rights. Celebs like Barbra Streisand and Cher called for boycotts before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Amendment 2 three years later. Polis has his sights set on changing federal law.
"The main federal thing that needs to be changed is we have a bad law in my opinion – it’s misnamed – called the Defense of Marriage Act, which basically says that marriages in other states aren’t good here, which is a terrible precedent," Polis said.
"If somebody’s married in California or married in Massachusetts, it shouldn’t depend on what state they’re driving through whether they’re married or not, so that’s a law we need to overturn at the federal level."
By the first full day after the landmark California ruling went into effect on June 17, 2,700 marriage applications were issued statewide, with the vast majority to same-sex couples, according to the LA Times. The average for a typical weekday in June is 460.