ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- 78 year-old Frank Colson and 80 year-old Richard Peterson met in 1961 before falling in love. 53 years later, they are now one on Winnebago County's first ever officially married same-sex couples.
"We love the fact that we can have our relationship recognized," said Peterson.
Today marked the first day the county handed out marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples since same sex marriage was legalized in Illinois last fall.
For Frank and Richard, today couldn't come any sooner and they hope to be models for younger gay couples.
"We really wanted to do it to encourage young gay people to be themselves," said Peterson.
Winnebago County Clerk Margie Mullins says people have been setting appointments for the day gay marriage would be legal for two years now.
Her office is booked all week as marriage licenses will only be given out through appointments.
Her office reports there will be 9 marriage licenses given to same-sex couples in Winnebago County today and that number will only grow as the week rolls on.
Ogle and Lee counties saw no same-sex couples get licenses today. Stephenson county now has three same-sex marriages. Boone County has two.