(AP/WWJ) — In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled Friday morning that gay marriage is legal.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder quickly Tweeted that it was important to respect the decision and “focus on dignity.”

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In a statement on the state’s Website, Snyder added, “Let’s also recognize while this issue has stirred passionate debate, we now should focus on the values we share. With this matter now settled, as Michiganders we should move forward positively, embracing our state’s diversity and striving to treat everyone with the respect and dignity they deserve.”

Same-sex couples in Texas may soon obtain marriage licenses following Friday’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalizes gay marriage nationwide.

Several gay couples were present Friday morning at county clerk offices in Austin, San Antonio and Dallas hours before the decision. But some offices were planning to remain open longer to accommodate larger numbers in the afternoon.

Other counties were holding off until receiving guidance from the state, which fought to preserve a 2005 constitutional ban on gay marriage.

Houston is among the cities where county officials are awaiting guidance from the Texas attorney general.

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has remained an emphatic opponent of gay marriage, even as signs in recent months pointed to the Supreme Court striking down state bans.

Prior to the ruling, Bob Wendland and his partner had a wedding in South Dakota. There was a church, and a ceremony — but not a marriage certificate.

Nearly five years later, the two men from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, are still not legally married, even though they since could have crossed the border and got a marriage license in Minnesota.

“We thought about it and we decided that … if we were just a little more patient, in a few years down the line it would hopefully just be across the board through the entire nation and we could just do it in South Dakota,” Wendland said.

That patience could pay off soon after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples nationwide have the same constitutional rights to marry as straight couples.

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People in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community were anxiously awaiting the opinion. At the same time, officials in North Dakota and South Dakota were preparing for what a historic ruling could mean for their states and for two lawsuits filed last year challenging their bans on same-sex marriage.

In North Dakota, some county officials said they’re prepared to issue marriage licenses as soon as possible, even though state forms still include terms like “bride” and “groom.”

“If they rule it takes effect immediately, we’ll start issuing them immediately,” said Burleigh County Recorder Debbie Kroshus. “As far as will I open my doors at midnight to do it — no. Anyone can get a license between 8:00 and 4:30.”

Josh Newville, a Minneapolis attorney who filed lawsuits for plaintiffs in both states, said if the court rules favorably he and his team will be looking for clerks who refuse to issue marriage licenses.

“If there’s a single event of noncompliance, there will be a lawsuit filed and we will seek damages that will inevitably be rewarded,” Newville said.

Officials from both North Dakota and South Dakota had mostly been quiet on the issue. The South Dakota Department of Health, which handles vital records like marriage certificates, said it won’t speculate but will look to the governor and attorney general for advice when a decision comes down.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said state officials “will adhere to the rule of law.”

As for Wendland and his partner, they plan to marry this August — their fifth anniversary. And they’ll do it in South Dakota.

“We’ll get some close friends and family together, and renew our vows and make it legal by government standards, and not just by God,” he said.


Associated Press writer Blake Nicholson contributed to this report from Bismarck, North Dakota.

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