Hundreds Take Part In Overnight Ceremonies As Civil Unions Become Legal

DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado made history overnight as civil unions became legal.

A total of 130 same sex couples were issued civil union licenses in Denver overnight. The state’s new civil union law gives unmarried couples — gay or heterosexual — rights similar to marriage, such as adopting children, insuring one another and inheriting property.

The Denver Clerk and Recorder’s Office opened at midnight for those celebrations and the ceremonies took place over the next three hours. Mayor Michael Hancock and Diana DeGette were among those officiating.

“This is very real,” Sonja Semion said of her union with partner Courtney Law. “We’ve been committed for years, but to have the law behind it? It’s such a great privilege today.

“When the mayor said ‘You’re lawfully committed I was like ‘Oh wow! That just happened,’ ” Law told CBS4.

Rep. Diana DeGette officiates early Wednesday morning. (credit: CBS)

Rep. Diana DeGette officiates early Wednesday morning. (credit: CBS)

David Westman told CBS4 that now that he’s part of a legal civil union “it’s like a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”

“Because we know we’re legally covered on so many issues that so many people take for granted and I’m just thrilled to spend another 16 years with this man I love,” Westman said of his partner.

PHOTO GALLERY: 1st Civil Union Ceremonies In Colorado

Colorado is now the sixth to support civil unions.

Boulder County’s Clerk and Recorder’s Office was open from midnight to 2 a.m. Wednesday to meet the immediate demand for civil union licenses there. The office opens again at 8 a.m.

Mayor Michael Hancock officiates early Wednesday morning. (credit: CBS)

Mayor Michael Hancock officiates early Wednesday morning. (credit: CBS)

The process takes about 20 minutes.

Arapahoe County was set to start issuing licenses at the clerk and recorder offices in Littleton, Centennial and Aurora at 7 a.m. on Wednesday.

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