Civil unions

Out Boulder is working with county officials so they have an idea of staffing needs at midnight May 1.

People who would like to get their midnight license are asked to email Aicila Lewis at alewis@outboulder.org.

There may be as many as 20 same-sex couples in Boulder County sleepy-eyed but happy on May 1, now that the decision has been made to issue civil union licenses at midnight of the day the new law takes effect.

Brad Turner, spokesman for Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall, said Wednesday the decision has been made to open from midnight to 2 a.m. for those who want to obtain licenses at the earliest time possible. Turner said the staff is "excited to be a part" of the event.

According to One Colorado, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, Boulder County is only the second county in the state to announce plans to open at midnight. Denver had already done so.

The plan is that the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder's Office, 1750 33rd St., will open at 12 a.m. May 1 and remain open until 2 a.m. It will then close, later reopening for its usual hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Louisville and Longmont offices will not open early.

The measure clearing the way for legal recognition of civil unions in Colorado, Senate Bill 13-011, was signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper on March 21.

The LGBT advocacy group Out Boulder is advertising on its website, outboulder.org, a midnight event tied to the civil union licensing, promising, "We will be there with treats and lots to celebrate. Join us in this historic moment for our community."

Aicila Lewis, executive director of Out Boulder, said the midnight opening of the clerk's office is "a very strong statement of support for LGBT people in our community, many of whom have already been waiting 20-plus years for the chance to have their commitment recognized by the state."

Former longtime county attorney Larry Hoyt said that, as is the case with marriage in Colorado, no third party will be required to officiate a ceremony for civil-union couples, and no ceremony is required.

"You have to sign a license application, and then the clerk issues the license. And then once the clerk issues the license and a certificate, the license you keep -- but the certificate, you do have to sign off on and return," Hoyt said. "Both people sign off on the certificate and simply turn it back in, and it's done."

Also, couples who have already obtained a legally recognized civil union or marriage in another state cannot now do so in Colorado, he said.

Hoyt, who has participated in a workshop helping to explain the new civil union law, said it's hard to know exactly how many people will turn out in the middle of the night in Boulder to be among the first to obtain their civil union license.

"I've heard there may be in the neighborhood of 20 couples that have let it be known they are thinking about it or planning on it," Hoyt said.

Alton Dillard, spokesman for the Denver clerk and recorder, said that office is also unsure exactly what to expect for its late-night -- or early-morning -- session.

"We'll be there as long as it takes to accommodate any couples who want to get civil union licenses between midnight and whenever," Dillard said. "We'll be staffed up for an overnight, if need be."

Contact Camera Staff Writer Charlie Brennan at 303-473-1327 or brennanc@dailycamera.com.