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Mass. Gay Marriage Pioneers Emotional After Supreme Court Ruling

BOSTON (CBS) – The couple involved in a landmark Massachusetts case that helped legalize gay marriage in the state became emotional after hearing the Supreme Court ruling that same-sex couples now have the right to marry throughout the United States.

Hillary and Julie Goodridge were the lead couple, along with 12 other plaintiffs, during a 2001 court case that led to the legalization of gay marriage in Massachusetts.

On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled by a 5-4 margin that all states in the country must now allow same-sex couples to marry. Gay and lesbian couples already could marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia.

Read: The Supreme Court Decision

"It is so incredibly exciting," Hillary told WBZ-TV by phone from Oregon, where she is traveling for business. "I burst into tears the minute I heard the news."

The Goodridges became the first same-sex couple in Boston to receive their marriage license in 2004.

"This has been momentous," Julie said regarding the Supreme Court's decision during a Friday press conference with Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

Julie and Annie Goodridge
Julie and Annie Goodridge react to the Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage. (WBZ-TV)

Julie said during the press conference that the couple decided to start the fight for marriage equality when Hillary was reading a book about love their daughter Annie about love.

Hillary asked Annie what couples she knows that love each other. Annie, five years old at the time, listed several married heterosexual couples.

When asked why she didn't include her own parents, Annie responded "If you loved each other, you would be married," Julie recalled.

"Now kids across the United States of America will be able to know that their parents who love each other are able to get married. It's just a very exciting time for everyone," said Julie, who was joined by now 19-year-old Annie during Healey's press conference.

BOSTON, UNITED STATES: Hillary (L) and Julie Goodridge (R) display their rings after their marriage ceremony in May 2004. They were the lead couple along with 12 other plaintiffs in a court case that legalized gay marriage in Massachusetts as town halls across the state were ordered to begin accepting same-sex couples for marriage licenses. (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

"A lot of people paved the way. We all had different parts to play and I couldn't be prouder of how everybody did," said Hillary.

Julie and Hillary Goodridge divorced in 2009.

Hillary said that for Annie's generation, the issue of same-sex marriage is "such a no-brainer."

As a result of her efforts in legalizing gay marriage in Massachusetts, Hillary said she still receives recognition from supporters.

"I was doing a workshop on something else entirely and a man came up to me, introduced himself, said 'thank you' and showed me his wedding ring because he had been able to marry his partner of 28 years," Hillary said. "I still cry every time that happens. It's very, very moving. Love does amazing things to people."

Healey praised the work of the Goodridge family, along with former Attorney General Martha Coakley and several other organizations who made it possible.

In the fall, Healey became the first openly gay Attorney General in the country.

"This was a fight that began, and was won, here in Massachusetts," said Healey about the Supreme Court decision.

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