It was shortly after 3 pm when the first same sex couple arrived at the Hamilton County Courthouse to get their marriage license. 

Phyllis Wood and Rhiannan Pierce were next in line; they came in with their daughter to tie the knot. 

They say they've been waiting for this moment for a long time.

"It's huge, it's really huge to be able to get married in the state that we live in, and not have to go anywhere else is huge,” said Rhiannan Pierce-Wood.

In a 5-4 landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same sex couples can marry. 

Phyllis Wood says that decision will allow her and Rhiannan to enjoy the benefits of marriage.

“I've been in tears because I'm happy, my daughter doesn't understand the big day it is for us, but she will eventually understand,” said Phyllis Wood.

It's a moment Glen Fountain waited all day for. Both he and a wedding photographer were in place as soon as the Supreme Court decision was announced to perform ceremonies and document them at no cost to couples. Fountain says it was a privilege to be a part of history. 

“This is an historic moment, I'm very happy to have been here to have witnessed it,” said Glen Fountain.

(NBC News) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday made marriage for same-sex couples legal nationwide, declaring that refusing to grant marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples violates the Constitution.

The landmark ruling will produce the most significant change in laws governing matrimony since the court struck down state bans on inter-racial marriage almost 50 years ago.

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A total of 36 states now permit gay couples to get married, covering roughly 70 percent of the US population. Today's ruling means the bans must end in the other 14 states -- Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

The decision capped a remarkably quick turnaround in public and judicial acceptance of same-sex marriage. In the past 18 months, court rulings struck down marriage bans in rapid succession -- nearly 60 separate decisions in more than half the states.

Today's ruling overturned a decision from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, which said states had legitimate reasons for maintaining the traditional definition of marriage. The appeals court also said it would be better "to allow change through the customary political processes" instead of the courts.

Public opinion has shifted dramatically in recent years. The first Gallup poll on the subject showed only 27 percent approval for same-sex marriage in 1996. Gallup's most recent poll, taken last month, showed 60 percent approval.