DENVER, April 29 (UPI) -- Same-sex civil unions, legalized by Colorado lawmakers in March, will be offered starting Wednesday with midnight parties planned statewide, advocates said.
The pro-gay rights group One Colorado has organized an event in Denver where several judges, magistrates and Mayor Michael Hancock will preside over scores of couples entering into civil unions just after midnight when they become legal, The Denver Post reported Sunday.
Similar events are planned in Boulder and Grand Junction.
Colorado will become the sixth state to permit gay and lesbian couples to enter into civil unions. The others are Hawaii, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware and Illinois. Nine states and the District of Columbia allow gays to marry.
The law ensures same-sex couples have the same legal rights as heterosexual couples, including adoption, inheritance, healthcare proxy and joint tax status.
"In every corner of our state, loving, committed couples have been waiting for 10, 20 and sometimes even 40 years to have the tools needed to protect each other and their families," Brad Clark, executive director of One Colorado, said in a statement. "On May 1, that long wait finally comes to an end -- and we are proud to mark this crucial victory with community celebrations across Colorado."