MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It was an emotional morning for several same-sex couples who lined up to apply for their marriage licenses at the Hennepin County Government Center, in one of three counties starting the process.

Hennepin, Ramsey, and Washington counties allowed same-sex couples to apply starting Thursday morning.

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After 11 years together, Jeff Isaacson and Al Giraud from Minneapolis were first in line to apply in Hennepin County.

“We wanted to not wait another second,” Giraud said. “We want our over 500 rights and so we’ll wait for August 1st for that but we are step by step.”

They said it’s hard to believe that they went from fighting a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage a year ago, to today when they are planning their wedding day, August 1st. That’s the day when same-sex couples will be able to get married in the state, under the Freedom to Marry Act that was signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton last month.

“We always thought that it would it was just a matter of time but we didn’t know if it was going to be later in life or now,” Giraud added.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

After nine years together and a commitment ceremony 7 years ago, Paul Melkert and James Zimmerman, also from Minneapolis, are also applying for a marriage license. They have twin 4-year-old boys.

“We can’t believe we’re actually filing this out and this is actually going to be something that’s legal,” Melkert said. “We’ve been waiting for this for so long we’ve been fighting for this for so long.”

Another woman, who applied with her partner of 26 years for a license, said she was “proud to be a Minnesotan today.”

Minnesota has a five day waiting period to get married. Same-sex couples who want to have a marriage license issued to get married when the clock strikes midnight on August 1 have to apply for one before 4 p.m. on July 26.

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According to a study out of UCLA, it’s estimated around 5,000 same sex couples will get married in Minnesota over the next three years.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Ann Degroot and her partner Rhonda have waited more than two decades to do what so many take for granted: apply for their Minnesota marriage license.

In the meantime, they’ve adopted and raised their son Andy and spearheaded the fight for marriage equality in Minnesota.

While Ann still quite can’t quite wrap her head around the sweet fruits of victory, her partner puts it into perspective.

“On a practical level, it’s not so significant because we have a legal partnership and adoption. But on an emotional and symbolic level, it’s very significant. Now Andy can say his parents are married,” Rhonda said.

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Ann said some of the finer points of a legal marriage are lost on those who have always had the right to marry.

“Some don’t realize all of the other legal benefits of being married, but we do. We’ve had to fight for them.”

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Kate Raddatz