The number of women entering into civil unions in Boulder County far outpaced men throughout the month of May, under a new state law that took effect at the start of the month.
According to the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder's Office, 124 licenses were issued through the close of business Friday, the last day of May. A total of 105 of the licenses issued have been returned as certified and completed unions.
Of those 105 returned licenses, 79 are for female couples and 24 are for male couples, according to county officials. Two of the completed civil union licenses went to heterosexual couples.
Another 19 licenses have been issued but not yet been returned as certified unions. Of those, 17 were issued to female couples and two went to male couples.
Overall, 77 percent of the licenses issued in Boulder County have gone to female couples.
Former Boulder County Clerk Clela Rorex, who gained national attention in 1975 by issuing a half-dozen same-sex marriage licenses before stopping on the advice of the Colorado attorney general, offered some thoughts about the gender disparity.
"Speaking as a female, and not a gay female, I think that women, especially if they have children, are always trying to find more security for themselves," Rorex said. She recently moved from Kansas to Longmont and presided over several union ceremonies at Boulder County's offices, when the issuing of licenses started at 12 a.m. May 1.
"And, whatever legal opportunities are afforded by the civil union bill, I think it brings a sense of comfort to women partners, especially if they have children. When you're in a position like that, you're always looking for a strong legal basis of comfort and security. That might be the only reason I can think of."
Lafayette resident Kristen Hepp, an ordained minister who also presided over civil unions on May 1 and again May 4 during ceremonies at Chautauqua Park through her business Colorado Commitments, offered a theory.
"Maybe women are biologically more ready to commit earlier in their lives," she said.
"What I also wonder is perhaps if socially, lesbians are a little bit more socially acceptable than gay men are, and perhaps that has contributed to women coming out a little bit sooner than men do and perhaps wanting to have their union recognized sooner than men do."
She quickly added, "I don't want to pigeonhole people."
The Denver Clerk and Recorder's Office, which opened at 12 a.m. May 1 like Boulder County, had issued 326 civil union licenses through 3 p.m. Friday but was not able to break down the recipients by gender.
However, on the first day, the Denver office issued licenses to 108 female couples and 70 male couples.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Charlie Brennan at 303-473-1327 or email@example.com.
A month of Boulder County civil unions
Licenses issued in May: 124
Issued to female couples: 96
Issued to male couples: 26
Issued to heterosexual couples: 2
Source: Boulder County clerk and recorder ___