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Colorado to legally recognize civil unions of same-sex couples

The topic of same-sex marriage, always a hot topic, has heated up in the last couple of months. Recent developments include high-profile hearings in the U.S. Senate and Supreme Court, as well as hearings in many states throughout the country. The debate has also spilled overseas with laws trying to be passed abroad.

In Colorado, recent changes in the state's family law introduced provisions to recognize the civil unions of same-sex couples. This law coincides with the increasing demand for other federal and state laws to recognize the legalities of same-sex relationships.

Civil unions provide a compromise that affords same-sex couples similar rights as married couples, including legal rights regarding divorce, child support and spousal support and child custody.

News that Denver and Boulder County will begin issuing civil union licenses at midnight on May 1 is being welcomed as an exciting time for the state by the local LGBT community. At least 20 same-sex couples are expected to file at midnight on the day civil unions are enacted.

According to sources, the process to file for a civil union is very simple. Interested parties will have to sign a license application, and a clerk will issue the license. Once issued, the couples will keep the license, sign off and return the certificate. The introduction of civil unions in Colorado comes after several previous attempts at recognition. Last year, a vote was held, but the proposal lost. This year, it prevailed.

It is an exciting time for same-sex partners, who are being given legal recognition by the state to form families of their own. As same-sex couples continue to gain the legal rights afforded heterosexual couples, it will be important for them to also become familiar with the laws regarding pre- and post-nuptial agreements, custody, support and divorce. Same-sex couples, just like heterosexual couples, need to understand their legal rights and responsibilities.

Source: Daily Camera, "Boulder County to issue civil union licenses at midnight May 1," Charlie Brennan, April 3, 2013.

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