History was made Tuesday when Jared Polis (D-Colo.) was sworn in, making him the first openly gay man to serve as governor of a U.S. state.
The significance of the moment wasn’t lost on Polis, who said he was “grateful and indebted to those who came before me, who struggled for equal rights” after taking the oath of office. He’s also Colorado’s first Jewish governor.
“Right now, our nation is experiencing a period of growing divisiveness and rising tribalism,” Polis said in his speech, delivered on the steps of the state capitol in Denver. “But here in Colorado, we choose a different path. Here, we have come so far, we have climbed so high, we have done so much, not just to say but to show that we reject the negative and divisive brand of politics.”
Polis’ partner and “first gentleman” Marlon Reis attended the ceremony, as did their two children, Caspian and Cora.
Noting that his administration aims to “make Colorado work for everyone,” Polis added, “We, as a people, have decided that there is no reason to let our differences divide us. We have embraced the idea that no two people are exactly alike, and we have decided to celebrate our differences.”
The historic moment was praised by celebrities and LGBTQ advocacy groups across the country. Among them was Cyndi Lauper, who performed at Polis’ inaugural ball Tuesday evening.
Though Polis didn’t mention President Donald Trump or his administration by name in his speech Tuesday, he previously said his victory would give his state “an opportunity to stick a thumb in the eye of [Vice President] Mike Pence, whose view of America is not as inclusive as where America is today.”
The Democrat’s victory has also weakened Republicans’ hopes of turning the key swing state red in the 2020 presidential election.