Gov. Jared Polis, First Gentleman Marlon Reis Get Engaged

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Jared Polis, accompanied by his husband Marlon Reis, takes the oath of office for governor administered by Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan B. Coats on Jan. 8. Polis is the country’s first openly gay man to be elected as any state’s top executive.

Updated 3:00 p.m.

Gov. Jared Polis is now engaged to his longtime partner of 17 years, Marlon Reis.

Polis proposed during a tumultuous time in December for his own family. Polis and Reis both contracted COVID-19. While the governor said he lost his taste and smell and felt a bit under the weather, Reis’ case was more severe. He ran a fever and stayed in bed for a few days.

After a week, Polis thought they were almost through it when Reis got worse and had to go to the hospital — that's the moment he popped the question, reports The Colorado Sun.

"I've been thinking about it for a while," the governor said in an interview with CPR News. "I'd ordered the rings, with an inscription from Isaiah, and had them hidden and ready to go. And he was going off to the hospital with COVID. I mean I knew he'd probably get better, but obviously, you never know. 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."

The couple have two children, a 6-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son.

"I did tell the kids a little bit beforehand. I knew they probably couldn't keep a secret," Polis said, adding, "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."

Reis, who keeps a relatively low profile, is already known as the first gentleman of Colorado. Polis is the first openly gay man elected as governor in the country.

The couple plans to marry in the fall.