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Published On: Thu, May 2nd, 2013

Midnight services result in first legal civil unions in Colorado

The first gay couple granted a civil union in Colorado said their vows before hundreds of people early Wednesday morning at a downtown Denver municipal building, where couples and members of the public gathered to celebrate the first legal unions.

The new law legalizing civil unions took effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday and both Denver and Boulder began issuing licenses immediately.

 photo David Shankbone

photo David Shankbone

Fran and Anna Simon were the first to receive a civil union certificate. Wearing the white wedding dresses they wore at their commitment ceremony seven years ago and joined by their 5-year-old son Jeremy, Fran and Anna received their license from a clerk at 12:02 a.m., following an expectant countdown to midnight led by other couples. Minutes later they were joined in a ceremony officiated by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

“Our commitment doesn’t change, but we will have a burden lifted off our shoulders,” Anna Simon said. “Loving and committed couples need legal protections.”

Colorado’s civil unions law allows unmarried couples, both gay and heterosexual, the ability to form civil unions and get rights similar to those of married couples. They include transferring property, making medical decisions, adopting children and qualifying for health insurance and survivor benefits.

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette joined Hancock and local judges and magistrates in officiating civil union ceremonies. DeGette, a long-time supporter of gay rights, said she earned her clergy status online specifically to participate in Wednesday morning’s festivities.

“Members of the GLBT community are the same as everyone else — they want loving, permanent relationships,” she said.

The Denver Clerk and Recorder’s Office said 130 couples checked in before Wednesday morning’s 3 a.m. deadline. The office resumed issuing civil union licenses at 8 a.m.

In Boulder, 48 couples entered into civil unions overnight and the first license went to two Louisville women believed to have made history once before, the Daily Camera reported.

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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