[JURIST] Connecticut joined Vermont Saturday as the second US state that recognizes civil unions for same-sex couples [JURIST report; a third state, Massachusetts, recognizes full gay marriage]. The development was marked by special Saturday hours at Hartfords City Hall [press release, PDF], where 26 same-sex couples applied for their licenses. A New Haven spokesperson reported that only 10 couples applied for the licenses there on the first day of availability. In April, Republican Governor M. Jodi Rell [official profile] endorsed [press release] a 80-67 House of Representatives vote [JURIST report] amending the state statute that previously defined marriage as between a man and a woman. The new civil unions act [text; summary] grants civil unions the same rights, protections, and responsibilities as married couples. The Washington Post has more.