Nevada is now one of more than a dozen states to recognize gay-inclusive domestic partnerships.

Nevada's gay partner law went into effect Thursday. State officials said they received over 700 applications during its month-long pre-registration period that ended September 24. Most of those certificates would be delivered by mail, Pam duPre, a spokesperson for Secretary of State Ross Miller, said.

The law offers gay and lesbian couples limited benefits associated with marriage, including hospital visitation rights, estate planning and shared responsibility for debt. While the law does not guarantee spouses health insurance and other-employer related benefits, it does allow for such benefits.

Lee Cagley, 58, and Larry Davis, 48, were the first couple to be issued a certificate. Secretary of State Ross Miller personally congratulated the couple in Carson City, The Associated Press reported.

Openly gay Senator David Parks, the law's sponsor in the Senate, has said the law is about equality.

“It's a day I didn't think would come quite as quickly as it has,” the Las Vegas Democrat told the AP.

The Nevada Legislature passed the domestic partner law in June over the objections of Governor Jim Gibbons, who vetoed the bill saying it was not necessary.

Opponents of the law argue that such unions are too similar to marriage and go against the will of Nevada voters who approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in 2002.