Civil unions in Colorado took effect May 1, and the first couple to be licensed was a pair of lesbian moms, both dressed in white wedding gowns, with their son Jeremy, 5, at their side.
Fran and Anna Simon have been vocal supporters of civil union legislation, as it was introduced for three consecutive years before finally passing both the state House and Senate earlier this year. Democratic governor John Hickenlooper signed the legislation into law on March 21. Both Denver and Boulder county opened their clerk's offices at midnight last night to welcome same-sex couples eager to make their relationship official.
The Simons repeatedly testified in legislative hearings about the important legal protections civil unions would provide to their family, so it was fitting that the couple became the first same-sex pair to receive a civil union license at 12:02 a.m. on May 1. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock performed a ceremony for the couple, while they group was surrounded by friends, family, and reporters eager to document the historic moment.
"We have been waiting 10 years to have access to critical legal protections that will help protect our family," Fran told SheWired. "Many other couples have waited much longer. We are so glad to finally have these protections and to have our family recognized under Colorado law. We wore our wedding gowns 8 years ago for our religious ceremony and we wore them again last night. We look forward to the day we can wear them a third time when we, and all loving, committed couples, have the freedom to marry. Hopefully, the gowns will still fit!"
Colorado voters approved an amendment to the state constitution banning marriage equality in 2006, so civil unions provide almost all the benefits of marriage to committed same-sex (and opposite-sex) couples as afforded by marriage. As drafted, civil unions afford adoption, inheritance, survivorship and visitation rights to any two unrelated adults who enter into the union.
Now take a moment to revel in the sheer joy on the faces of this family: Jeremy at far left, Fran in the center, and Anna on the right:
Congratulations to the Simons and all Coloradans!