Colorado civil union ceremonies begin at midnight

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DENVER (AP) -- Ceremonies are planned in Boulder and Denver when civil unions in Colorado become legal at midnight on Wednesday.

The new law takes effect seven years after voters banned gay marriage in the state constitution. State lawmakers this year passed a bill granting unmarried couples, both gay and heterosexual, rights similar to marriage. Those rights include transferring property, making medical decisions, adopting children and qualifying for health insurance and survivor benefits.

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the bill on March 21.

Denver's Office of the Clerk and Recorder will be open at midnight to issue licenses, with ceremonies to continue until 2 a.m. The Boulder County Clerk and Recorder's Office will open its Boulder location at midnight to issue civil union licenses.

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