Same-sex marriages do not become legal in Illinois until June but Vernita Gray and Patricia Ewert jump-started things when they got married in the state on Wednesday (27 November).
A federal judge granted them the right to legally wed six months early because Gray, 64, is terminally ill with cancer.
The couple made things official during a civil ceremony in their Chicago home.
'I'm so excited for us and for the community, for today is a beginning. One so richly deserved,' said Gray in a statement.