Couples joined with civil union licenses

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Even a springtime snowstorm did not keep 17 same-sex couples from making it into Jefferson County offices on May 1 to receive their license for a Civil Union.

The county motor vehicle offices, along with the clerk and recorder office, are the only places to acquire a civil union or marriage license.

The first couple to get a civil union in the state went to the Arvada Motor Vehicle office.

The first Civil Union license seekers were reportedly from the Arvada Motor Vehicle office, shortly before 8 a.m.

At 8:05 a.m. Jennifer Whitton and Tana Trujillo of Lakewood walked into the county Clerk and Recorder’s office for a Civil Union license.

Employees of the office applauded the couple.

“My name’s already (printed) on there, but I would be honored to sign that,” Jeffco Clerk and Recorder Pamela Anderson said.

Anderson’s signature is printed on every civil union/marriage license because that’s one of her duties as an elected official.

She offered to sign the first Civil Union license in person.

The couple accepted.

“We got married in Vermont two and a half years ago,” Whitton said.

While Whitton said the civil union did not change their relationship, it would afford them more legal protection, and simplify future issues, particularly concerning their unborn child.

“This is amazing,” Trujillo said. “I grew up here and didn’t think for a million years that this would happen. This used to be something that you didn’t even talk about.”

District 2 County Commissioner Casey Tighe also stopped by the Clerk and Recorder’s office, and congratulated the couple.

Barbara Adams and Jennifer Foster were second in line to get a license. The pair said they would celebrate with a small ceremony at their church in Arvada.

Foster said the pair had questioned whether to bother with the civil union though.

“It’s still not marriage. It’s still not federal rights,” said Foster, who is a federal employee, and unable to extend her benefits to Adams.

The state bill that grants the right of Civil Union for gay and lesbian couples was signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper on March 21.

A similar bill was blocked by some Republicans during the 2012 legislative season.

May 1 was the first day for the new Civil Union license to be available.

The bill represented a major shift from the state’s past — a voter referendum in 2006 made gay marriage illegal as part of the state constitution.

Boulder and Denver counties held midnight license events, and 199 couples had obtained their civil unions before the sun came up.

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