Following the Supreme Court’s June 26 ruling that Proposition 8 was indeed unconstitutional, same-sex California couples raced to the altar to exercise their right to marry.
Among them? Bill Horn and Scout Masterson, a.k.a. The Guncles, who officially tied the knot at the Van Nuys Courthouse on Wednesday – a major step after more than 10 years together.
“We’re excited to share that we got legally married this week! After over a decade of being a couple, the ability to legally marry is a huge milestone for our family – and all other LGBT families out there,” the couple tell PEOPLE. “We couldn’t be more thrilled.”
But this wasn’t the couple’s first trip down the aisle. Their original decision to wed came in 2009, when Masterson, 38, and Horn, 41, turned to party planner – and best friend – Tori Spelling, who went to work putting together a wedding in Palm Springs.
While California supported marriage equality at the time, as the much-anticipated day drew closer, the right was revoked.
“We had full intentions of that ceremony being a legal wedding, but by the time we had planned it and set a date, marriage was illegal for us again in California,” Masterson says. “So that to-be wedding was a commitment ceremony. It was wonderful to share that day with all of our family and friends to celebrate our love.”
With same-sex marriage deemed legal once again, Masterson admits that while whipping up a formal wedding was “tempting,” ultimately the two weren’t willing to take any chances. “We wanted to be certain we didn’t miss our opportunity again,” he explains.
“On Monday we spent nearly five hours at the Van Nuys courthouse waiting in line to receive our marriage certificate, and we took the first available time to be legally married.”
Other than downsizing the celebration, there was one other distinct difference between the couple’s 2009 commitment ceremony and their recent exchanging of vows: joining the newlyweds was their 3-year-old daughter Simone, whom they adopted in 2010.
“She stood up with us at the altar and took part in the ceremony by holding our hands. It was a beautiful moment for us to share together,” Masterson says. “She had a fantastic time playing with the artificial flowers in the courthouse’s wedding room.”
While the “five minute” affair was “very lovely,” marital bliss will pay off in a big way when next year’s tax season rolls around. “A major, life changing difference is now we can actually file a joint federal tax return and not be charged all of the extra taxes and preparation fees,” Masterson says.
“I don’t think people realize – unless you’re close with a LGBT family – that the things married couples took for granted are now very much celebrated by families like us.”
But even a tax break can’t trump their new titles. “Oh, and we can say, ‘This is my husband!'” Masterson adds.
• Reporting by SARAH MICHAUD