Erika Highstead and Sarah Musick celebrate their civil union.

Erika Highstead and Sarah Musick celebrate their civil union.

Yesterday, the first day Colorado’s civil unions law went into effect, 20 same-sex couples, their friends and relatives packed into a Manitou Springs art space for a public ceremony. KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports.

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By the power vested in us by the state of Colorado…

Some couples say they waited decades for this. It’s not the full marriage equality they wanted, but they said their “I dos,” exchanged rings and held a certificate that Colorado says is equivalent to marriage. The clergy-led ceremony was meant to be on the steps of Colorado Springs City Hall, but was moved indoors due to snow.

Sarah Musick and Erika Highstead weren’t disappointed. They’ve been together seven years, and they already considered themselves married. But Musick says the ceremony meant something.

“It was WAY more powerful than we expected it be. We had even said it was a formality, “tonight is a formality. It’s the paperwork” But it was way more than paperwork. We didn’t realize it until we were here experiencing it. Big stuff.”

They’ve lived through the nightmare of unmarried couples: One was in an intensive care unit, unconscious. The other was barred from the room. They later got legal documents to protect each other in extreme situations, but they say the civil union certificate gives them peace of mind. More so because now Highstead is pregnant.

The state legislature passed the civil unions measure in March after a divisive battle and special session last year failed to get a similar bill passed.

 

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