Two women together more than 55 years are the lead plaintiffs behind a federal lawsuit challenging Arizona's ban on gay marriage.

Nelda Majors, 75, and Karen Bailey, 74, join six other couples and the surviving spouses of two additional couples in looking to topple Arizona's 2008 voter-approved constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.

The plaintiffs are represented by Lambda Legal and Perkins Coie LLP.

“Every day that same sex couples in Arizona are denied marriage, the government sends a message that their families are not worthy of equal dignity and respect,” said Jennifer C. Pizer, senior counsel for Lambda Legal.

Majors and Bailey raised Karen's great grand-nieces Marissa and Sharla as their own daughters. Marissa is 15, while Sharla is 21.

“After five decades together we want to celebrate and affirm our deep love for each other as other couples do, before our friends and family, through marriage,” Majors said. “If we were married, there would be no question [about our relationship] and we both would feel more secure.”