LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Two nurses who challenged Michigan’s same-sex marriage prohibition are celebrating the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage.

April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse told reporters in Ann Arbor shortly after the ruling was released Friday that it’s a good day in history.

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“Now we have to plan our wedding,” said DeBoer. “And adopt our kids!”

DeBoer and Rowse initially went to court to win the right to jointly adopt each other’s children, not to confront Michigan’s ban on gay marriage.

DeBoer and Rowse live in Hazel Park, Michigan, with four young adopted children and a foster child. Each woman has adopted two kids, but they couldn’t jointly adopt them because Michigan ties that to marriage.

They say their children will come to understand the importance of the Supreme Court’s ruling. And they say it’s a day for a lot of celebration.

“We’re elated, not just for our family but for hundreds of thousands of families around the country,” DeBoer said in a statement. “We’ve done everything we could to protect our children, and to make sure families like ours have the same safety and security as all other families, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that this day has finally come.”

“For years, our five-year-old daughter has been asking us when ‘we’ are getting married, meaning the whole family,” said Rowse. “We all thought it was cute, but she’s honestly more astute than many politicians in recognizing the importance of marriage for uniting a family.”

Gay and lesbian couples already could marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The court’s 5-4 ruling means the remaining 14 states, including Michigan, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage.

The outcome is the culmination of two decades of Supreme Court litigation over marriage, and gay rights generally.

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Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, just as he did in the court’s previous three major gay rights cases dating back to 1996. It came on the anniversary of two of those earlier decisions.

“No union is more profound than marriage,” Kennedy wrote, joined by the court’s four more liberal justices.

As he read his opinion, spectators in the courtroom wiped away tears after the import of the decision became clear.

The four dissenting justices each filed a separate opinion explaining his views, but they all agreed that states and their voters should have been left with the power to decide who can marry.

The ruling will not take effect immediately because the court gives the losing side roughly three weeks to ask for reconsideration. But some state officials and county clerks might decide there is little risk in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The cases involved laws from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Those states have not allowed same-sex couples to marry within their borders and they also have refused to recognize valid marriages from elsewhere.

There are an estimated 390,000 married same-sex couples in the United States, according to UCLA’s Williams Institute, which tracks the demographics of gay and lesbian Americans. Another 70,000 couples living in states that do not currently permit them to wed would get married in the next three years, the institute says. Roughly 1 million same-sex couples, married and unmarried, live together in the United States, the institute says.

The Obama administration backed the right of same-sex couples to marry. The Justice Department’s decision to stop defending the federal anti-marriage law in 2011 was an important moment for gay rights and President Barack Obama declared his support for same-sex marriage in 2012.

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