The lesbian couple who led the fight for gay marriage in Massachusetts are filing for divorce.

Julie and Hillary Goodridge were among seven gay couples whose lawsuit, Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health, thrust Massachusetts into the center of a nationwide debate on gay marriage. The couple became the public face of the debate in the state, the first to legalize same-sex marriages.

The couple was married on May 17, 2004, the first day same-sex marriages became legal under a court ruling. Their daughter served as ring-bearer.

The divorce filing is not unexpected. The couple announced they were separating in 2006.

A clerk for the Suffolk Probate and Family Court said the case, filed last week, is impounded.

Messages left for the Goodridges were not immediately returned Tuesday.