By Tori Mason

DENVER (CBS4)– A diverse crowd gathered outside the state Capitol on Tuesday to watch the inauguration for the nation’s first openly gay governor. Jared Polis is also Colorado’s first Jewish governor.

Gov. Jared Polis (credit: CBS)

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Among those who wanted to see the inauguration in person, a group of friends who gathered two hours before the ceremony was set to begin. Joshua, Max and Ben wanted to be there to watch the historical event.

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“This only happens once,” said Joshua.

(credit: CBS)

Joshua knows firsthand the challenges faced by openly gay men. He was discharged from the Air Force during the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” era and re-enlisted when Congress lifted the ban.

“It is hugely important to see someone who is similar to you represented in government,” said Joshua about Polis. “Colorado is getting to show the rest of the country that it can be progressive.”

(credit: CBS)

His friend, Max, agreed. He says Polis becoming governor is the positive representation their community needs.

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PHOTO GALLERY: Gov. Jared Polis Inauguration

“It’s a community that’s been historically oppressed and marginalized. Showing them they have a path to not only be part of the culture, but also represent that culture, is super important,” explained Max.

(credit: CBS)

Their friend, Ben, feels that voters choosing an openly gay man as their governor means society’s views are changing.

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“It shows that we’re making progress to become an accepting culture. He’s openly gay. This proves that people are willing to elect him and accept him,” said Ben.

(credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Tori Mason asked the friends if they would still be there supporting Polis if they didn’t agree with his politics.

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Joshua immediately answered, “Yes, I would. It’s a historical moment.”

Tori Mason