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Jared Polis becomes first ever elected openly gay governor in US history

The US midterm elections also saw two female Muslim candidates win seats in Minnesota and Michigan

2018-11-07

Words: Steve Brown

Colorado's Jared Polis has become the first ever openly gay candidate elected to the position of governor in US history.

As ballots were still being counted on Tuesday (November 6), the Democratic congressman was set to solidly beat Colorado's Republican treasurer Walker Stapleton by 54 per cent to 45 per cent.

Polis - who shares two children with his partner Marlon Reis - said: “I hope that both parties look more like America.

“Which means people of different colors, people of different genders and people with different sexual orientations and gender identities.”

Colorado's incoming governor first ran for Congress back in 2007 and his sexuality was rarely mentioned in the press despite his constituency approving a ban on same-sex marriage just one year before.

“With Jared Polis becoming the first out gay governor of a state, I have no doubt today, there are children and teenagers and young adults who are looking to him and saying, ‘I’m going to be my state’s governor one day,’” said Rea Carey, the executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, a nonpartisan political nonprofit.

“His win inspires others.”

“It’s a historic win — not just for the LGBT community but for the state of Colorado,” said Mary Parker, president and CEO of the Victory Fund.

“The fact that the state of Colorado, in 25 years, has gone from being dubbed the ‘Hate State’ to a place that can elect someone who is not just openly gay, but publicly gay, that’s historic.”

Colorado-born Gus Kenworthy took to Twitter to congratulate Polis and his home-state for electing the openly gay governor.

He wrote: "Extremely proud of my home State of Colorado for becoming the first state in history to an elect an openly gay Governor! Congrats @jaredpolis!"

American Horror Story star Billy Eichner also congratulated Polis and wrote: "Wow!! Congratulations @jaredpolis of Colorado who just became the first openly gay man to be elected Governor in US History!!!"

Some found the humour in Polis' election win, which came  after the Supreme Court recently ruled in favour of a Colorado bakery which refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple.

One tweeted: "The Colorado cake baker who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple now has a gay governor."

Polis was not the only openly gay candidate to win their race during the US midterm elections: House of Representatives candidate Sharice Davids also won her seat in Kansas, becoming the state's first openly gay, and first Native American, congressman.

The election also saw Ilhan Omar, a Muslim woman, beat US Congressman Keith Ellison in Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib - who became the first Muslim woman elected to the Michigan Legislature in 2008 - win a congressional seat.