As of Wednesday morning, at midnight, same-sex couples in Colorado were finally allowed to get a civil union — and, more importantly, to get that union recognized by the state. These are just some of the hundreds of happy couples from Denver and beyond.
Governor John Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 11, the Colorado Civil Unions Act, on March 21, making Colorado the sixth state to legalize civil unions and granting committed same-sex couples legal protections and responsibilities. It's progress for a socially volatile state which, seven years ago, saw its voters approve a ban on gay marriage in the state's constitution. Also in 1992, Coloradans approved Amendment 2, a law that would have prohibited gays and lesbians from being a protected class — until it was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1996.
But this is a different Colorado (gun control legislation and marijuana legalization have passed in the last six months) and a different America (the Supreme Court is expected to rule on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act in a month, and public support for gay marriage has never been higher). And there were nothing but smiles overnight in the Centennial State, with some couples lining up at 2 p.m. — 10 hours before the law went into effect — to be the first in line to celebrate this step toward equality. Here's ABC Denver's coverage, followed by photos: