Colorado Governor Jared Polis Is Engaged to His Longtime Partner Marlon Reis—Here's a Look at Their 17-Year Relationship

Polis, who became the nation's first openly gay elected governor in 2018, proposed while Reis was battling COVID-19 in December.

Jared Polis and Marlon Reis

Taylor Hill/Stringer/Getty Images

Colorado Governor Jared Polis is engaged! The state governor’s office announced on March 4, 2021, that Polis and First Gentleman Marlon Reis got engaged at the end of last year. Reis contracted COVID-19 in December, and as he was getting ready to admit himself to the hospital, Polis got down on one knee.

“I was getting my things ready. My daughter was crying in the corner—she didn’t want me to go,” Reis told The Colorado Sun about the “tense” timing of Polis’ proposal. “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.” 


While it may seem like an inopportune time to ask such a question, Reis ended up describing it as the “perfect” moment. 

“Let’s not wait. Let’s live life while we have it to live,” he said. “Let’s celebrate and look out for each other and keep caring about the things that we care about. Even though we’re dealing with these circumstances, we can’t give up on our dreams.”

Polis was elected governor back in 2018 after serving five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, and he is the first openly gay elected governor of the state, though the governor of Oregon Kate Brown identifies as bisexual and was elected in 2016. Polis is also the first Jewish governor of Colorado.

The couple has been together for 17 years, so in honor of this historical moment, we’re taking a look back at their relationship from their first meeting to their two adorable children.

2002: First Meeting

The couple met back in 2002 at the University of Colorado Boulder, where Reis was finishing up his education. According to The New York Times, Reis taught Polis about literature while Polis versed Reis on baseball.

2008: Polis Is Elected to Congress

The politician was elected to Colorado’s second congressional district and won the general election in November. He was reelected again in 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016, all with Reis by his side.

2011: Their Son Is Born

While details of the birth are unknown, they welcomed Caspian, their son and first child, in September of 2011.

2014: Their Daughter is Born

Again, the couple kept the details of their daughter’s birth private, but they welcomed Cora on July 4, 2014. The proud dad often posts adorable photos of her on his Instagram.

2018: Polis is Elected Governor

In 2018, Polis announced his candidacy for governor of Colorado and self-funded his successful campaign. He won with nearly 54 percent of the vote and became the nation’s first openly gay governor. Reis was right next to his partner as he was elected governor. Polis shared the happy moment on Instagram.

“Tonight, we reaffirm what makes Colorado the amazing state that it is,” he wrote alongside a series of him and Reis celebrating. “Here, we dream, we dare, and we do. We embrace big ideas and we work sun-up to sundown to make them realities. We see the highest mountains and we climb them. We face the tough decisions and we solve them.”

2020: COVID-19 Can't Stop Love

In November 2020, both Polis and Reis contracted the coronavirus. When Reis’ condition started to deteriorate, doctors recommended he admit himself to the hospital. The “tense” situation turned into one of the greatest moments of their lives.

“It was the absolute perfect time,” Reis told The Colorado Sun. “I said to him, ‘I couldn’t breathe before. Now I really can’t breathe.’”

As for the ring? It’s made of tungsten and inscribed with a Bible passage from Isiah 11:6. “Very plain, perfectly in keeping with both our personalities,” Reis described it.

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