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State family law gets a boost when civil unions begin

This is an age where acceptance of culture, race, religion, and gender preference is becoming the norm. In fact, Wheat Ridge, Colorado residents witnessed family law history when the first civil union was celebrated on May 1.

After years of lying almost dormant in the legislature, a special session on civil unions, first called last year by Governor John Hickenlooper, ended in a different outcome this year when lawmakers expediently voted civil unions into law. This was seven years after gay marriage was banned in the state's constitution.

The bill was signed into law on March 21, 2013, and took effect on May 1. At midnight in the metro area of Denver, hundreds, if not thousands of gay and lesbian couples were anticipated to crowd the Office of the Clerk and Recorder.

Many couples are citing the importance of this law as it gives gay and lesbian couples similar rights to married couples; however, it also solidifies the state's commitment to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. It also symbolically allows couples to have their love and relationships recognized.

Through civil unions, couples are afforded similar rights to heterosexual married couples. These rights cover property transfers, the right to make medical decisions, adoption, qualifying for health insurance and survivor benefits, just to name a few. Family legal issues can now also be addressed and legal professionals, as always, are willing to help.

The LGBT community is celebrating, and rightfully so. According to certain advocacy groups, they sponsored civil union parties at midnight and everyone was invited to visit specific locations where the parties were being held. According to preliminary reports, it was expected that many couples would take vows on May 1.

It is truly a wonderful time for the LGBT community. As they celebrate this victory, everyone else celebrates along with them with the hope of a brighter future for all of Colorado's gay and lesbian couples as they venture to create legally accepted families of their own.

Source: TheDenverChannel.com, "Civil unions in Colorado begin Wednesday," April 29, 2013

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