Colorado Gov. Jared Polis And His First Gentleman, Marlon Reis, Are Engaged

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis deserves credit for choosing a very unexpected moment to propose to his first gentleman, Marlon Reis. 

The couple announced Thursday that they’d gotten engaged after 17 years together. In an interview with The Colorado Sun, Reis said he was preparing to depart for the hospital in early December after contracting COVID-19 when Polis popped the question. 

“I was getting my things ready. My daughter was crying in the corner — she didn’t want me to go,” Reis, 39, recalled. “My son was asking me a lot of technical questions: ‘When are you coming back? Do they know exactly what’s wrong?’ It was a very tense moment.”

Then shortly before the couple left for the hospital, Reis said Polis got down on one knee and presented him with a ring. And while it may not have been the grand, sweepingly romantic scene one imagines, it turned out to be “the absolute perfect time,” Reis said.

“It put such a spring in my step,” said the first gentleman, who returned home after two days of hospitalization and has since recovered from COVID-19. “When I got to the hospital, I wasn’t scared anymore. I said, ‘I have a great relationship, a great family that I’m going to be coming home to after this.’”

Speaking to Colorado Public Radio on Thursday, Polis said he had been thinking about proposing to Reis “for a while” beforehand. 

“I knew he’d probably get better, but obviously, you never know,” the Democratic governor explained. “I thought now’s a good time to give them something to remember here as we leave the house to take him to the hospital. … You never go to the hospital with an upbeat spirit, but [Marlon] probably had an extra, extra beat in his step as he walked into the hospital.”

In 2018, Polis made history when he became the first openly gay man to be elected governor of a U.S. state. He is also Colorado’s first Jewish governor.

“Right now, our nation is experiencing a period of growing divisiveness and rising tribalism,” Polis said in his 2019 inaugural address. “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 himself tested positive for COVID-19 in November, but his symptoms were mild and did not require hospitalization. He and Reis have two children: son Caspian Julius, 9, and daughter Cora, 6. 

A wedding date has not yet been announced, though the couple has hinted that it may take place sooner rather than later due to the ongoing threat of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Let’s not wait. Let’s live life while we have it to live,” said Reis, an animal advocate and writer. “Let’s celebrate and look out for each other and keep caring about the things that we care about.”

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