Billings, Mont. — Gay couples have begun exchanging vows at county courthouses in Montana a day after a federal judge threw out the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

Among the first were Randi Paul and Jill Houk of Billings. They wed Thursday in a hallway at the Yellowstone County Courthouse just minutes after paying $53 for a marriage license.

Universal Life Church minister Jeffrey Hill officiated over the brief ceremony. He says the event marked a triumph of love over law.

Paul says the couple considered getting married in another state, and are relieved they can now do so in her home state.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox plans to appeal Wednesday's ruling from U.S. District Judge Brian Morris that struck down the state ban.

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