CHICAGO (CBS) — Cook County officials expect to issue the county’s 10,000th same-sex marriage license this week.

Cook County became the first in Illinois to allow same-sex couples to wed in February of 2014. Since then, as of Monday morning, 9,990 marriage licenses have been issued to same sex couples, moving closer to the 10,000 mark.

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Pat Ewert and her partner Vernita Gray were the first couple same-sex couple legally married. They actually tied the knot before the same-sex marriage law went into effect, when a judge granted them the right to marry early because Gray was dying of cancer.

Cook County clerk David Orr. (Credit: Lisa Fielding)

Cook County clerk David Orr. (Credit: Lisa Fielding)

“As my late wife Vernita used to say that in the 40 plus years that she was out, at the very beginning, the words gay and marriage were never even used in the same sentence and look at what we’ve accomplished today,” Ewert said. “I know Vernita is looking down and smiling right now, and I guess she’s doing a little dance, too.”

Cook County Clerk David Orr held a news conference Monday morning, along with state lawmakers and civil right groups, to mark the milestone.

“It’ll happen. We just don’t know when, unlike our first; but I think it’ll happen today, Tuesday, or Wednesday at the latest,” said Orr.

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The Illinois General Assembly approved a gay marriage law in late 2013, making Illinois the 16th state to allow same-sex marriages. The U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in June 2015.

Pat Ewert, she and her partner Vernita Gray was first same sex marriage license in Cook County. (Credit: Lisa Fielding)

Pat Ewert, she and her partner Vernita Gray was first same sex marriage license in Cook County. (Credit: Lisa Fielding)

“It is hard to believe that it was just a couple of years ago that Illinois became the last state in the union to legislatively pass marriage equality before the Supreme Court stepped in. We know what a hard, hard struggle it was to get to that point,” said State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), who sponsored the Illinois marriage equality law. “This bill has brought such joy to so many families. It’s brought wonderful kids and wonderful moms together, but it has also meant so many important things to couples in their day-to-day lives that straight people have taken for granted for years.”

Brian Johnson, chief executive director of Equality Illinois, married his partner, Toby, in May. He said the state has set the standard for equal rights for all.

“When Governor [Pat] Quinn signed marriage equality into law in November of that first year of our dating, nothing about our love changed; but on that day, the heart of Illinois grew to encompass more of our sons and daughters,” he said. “Toby and I became same sex couple 9,191 to be married in Cook County. It fills me with such pride for Illinois that we are the last wave of married couples who will have to tell the story that when we first met, marriage wasn’t a legal option for our future. While part of me is proud to be couple number 9,191, I look forward to the day in the not so distance future, when we lose track of the number of same sex couples who marry, and that Illinois imply rejoices in how many families we call our own.”

The 10,000th couple will receive a special ceremony, a gift package that includes a getaway weekend to Las Vegas, dinner, flowers and other goodies.

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The Clerk’s office has used the hashtag #JourneyTo10k to chronicle the couples who have gotten married since it was legalized in Illinois.