Julie and Hillary Goodridge and six other gay and lesbian couples sued Massachusetts for the right to marry and won when the state's highest court ruled narrowly for them in 2003.
Their suit helped spark a nationwide debate on gay marriage.
The women ''are amicably living apart,'' Mary Breslauer, a spokeswoman for the couple said. ''As always their number one priority is raising their daughter, and like the other plaintiff couples in this case, they made an enormous contribution toward equal marriage. But they are no longer in the public eye, and request that their privacy be respected.'' They have not filed for divorce.
Julie and Hillary Goodridge married on May 17, 2004, the first day same-sex couples were allowed to wed, in a festive ceremony attended by dozens of journalists.
Their daughter, Annie, accompanied the women down the aisle serving as ring bearer and flower girl while guests hummed ''Here Come the Brides.'' News of their split upset many who had supported their quest for same-sex marriage. ''We are very sad for them,'' said Carisa Cunningham, a spokeswoman for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
Two states -- Connecticut and Vermont -- have legalized same-sex civil unions. California, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey and Washington, DC, offer gay and lesbian couples some legal rights as partners.
The debate over gay marriage recently has heated up again in Massachusetts after the state's Supreme Judicial Court last week ruled that voters can decide whether to ban same-sex unions.
If enough lawmakers in the state's legislature approve the measure, it will be put on the 2008 ballot for a popular vote.
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