On Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Jared Polis made the best decision of his time in office and married Marlon Reis. Channeling his trademark geekdom, Polis commemorated his “mawage” via a quote from The Princess Bride.
When I saw the tweet, my heart soared.
First and foremost, I previously wrote an entire column based on a metaphor from the same movie (my geek-game is at least on par with Polis’). As I said then, and maintain now, there is no such thing as too much Princess Bride.
Second — and, OK, maybe more important — less than a decade after Colorado passed civil unions and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, the nation’s only openly gay governor married the love of his life. And the reactions ranged from “mazel tov!” to memes of Andre the Giant proclaiming, “that’s wonderful.”
Even Jim Obergefell, the marriage equality case plaintiff, noted the nuptials on his Facebook page.
The vast, vast majority of replies to Polis’ tweet were congratulatory and ebullient. Scrolling through the whole list, I only saw a handful of Humperdinks spewing petty, ugly remarks. Overwhelmed by the positive outpouring, it was obvious that, as they say, love wins.
That is precisely what led the warm sensation in my chest to rise, prickle the back of my neck, pull the corners of my mouth upward and exit through a tear of happiness. Outside of a mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, true love is the greatest thing in the world.
I sacrificed my political ambitions within the Republican Party when I argued in favor of civil unions and signed onto an amicus brief supporting marriage equality. Pictures like Polis and Reis facing each other, committing their lives to one another, were exactly why I did it. And why I will never regret it.
My choice was not about being on the right side of history. It was about being on the right side of true love. I could not have lived with myself if I sat silent while people like Polis and Reis were denied outward recognition of inward ties that bound their hearts.
In the interim years I have attended many civil unions and marriages between couples previously denied that right. I stood in the crowd as Fran and Anna Simon received the state’s first civil union certificate two minutes after midnight on May 1, 2013, and again when Mayor Michael Hancock married them a little over a year later. I have cried as I witnessed friends spiritually married for years reaffirm their love before the law.
I do not know if that extra tinge of emotion will ever be absent when I see happy couples entering previously verboten marriages. I do know that the struggle, and the multitude of heroic advocates I met along they way, are as vibrant in my memory today as they were in the moment.
Maybe that is just one of the little quirks of true love. It can keep both a cabin boy named Westley and our most cherished memories alive.
Given the time demands on Polis as governor, and Reis, whose exploits on behalf of animals make him a hero in my household, I am unsure if they opted for the “short version” or the “short, short version” of matrimonial vows (what a year 1987 was for comedic wedding officiants!). I do know that the moment will be with them always, until the very end.
Polis and Reis married in a small ceremony beneath a chuppah somewhere on the University of Colorado campus. It was a private moment, but one we can all be publicly ecstatic about.
I am sure I speak for most Coloradans wishing the couple a lifetime of love, “twue wuv.”
Mario Nicolais is an attorney and columnist who writes on law enforcement, the legal system, health care and public policy. Follow him on Twitter: @MarioNicolaiEsq