Colorado just made history by electing an openly gay man as governor
In a state once nicknamed the “hate state” by progressives for its anti-LGBTQ laws, Democrat Jared Polis was projected to defeat Republican Walker Stapleton with a 6-point lead and roughly 60 percent of districts reporting.
Polis has served as a congressman in the U.S. House since 2009. Not only did he not hide his sexual orientation on the campaign trail, he highlighted it.
"Tonight we celebrate and tomorrow we roll up our sleeves," Polis said in a victory speech in Denver. "We have work to do to to turn a bold vision into a reality."
Polis, a philanthropist, is the founder of numerous tech companies and services — including a an internet access provider provider called American Information Systems he founded in college —that have sold for millions of dollars and generated him considerable wealth. He founded the Polis Foundation in 2000 to "create opportunities for success by supporting educators, increasing access to technology, and strengthening our community."
Critics dubbed Colorado the “hate state” in 1992 when voters turned down an initiative to legalize protections for LGBTQ people.
Colorado was also the state that sparked a national debate over cake bakers who refuse to serve gay people that went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the cake baker.
Cover: Democratic Colorado Governor-elect Jared Polis speaks at an election night rally on November 6, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. Polis defeated incumbent Republican Walker Stapleton to become the first openly gay man elected governor in the country. (Photo by Rick T. Wilking/Getty Images)