Pearl Berlin woke up Lennie Gerber every morning for fifty years with “a kiss and a little schmooze.” In 2013, she added two simple words to this morning ritual: “We’re married.” It took over a year for the State of North Carolina to recognize those words as legally true.

Berlin, whose fight for marriage equality in North Carolina made her an icon for LGBTQ rights across the country, died Thursday. She was ninety-two years old and just shy of reaching the couple’s anniversary on June 2.

Berlin legally married Gerber, eighty-two, in Maine on September 10, 2013, just sixteen months after the voter-approved passage of North Carolina’s Amendment 1 declared that their marriage would not be recognized in their home state. As a lead plaintiff in a series of court cases challenging that amendment as unconstitutional, Berlin and her wife became crusaders for same-sex marriage. The amendment being overturned in 2014 marked a beginning for the couple’s LGBTQ advocacy, not an end; they were vocal in their opposition to HB 2 and were eventually featured in a 2014 documentary as well as several TV spots promoting Democratic candidates during the 2016 election.

“Pearl Berlin was a fierce advocate for equality who fought injustice on behalf of all North Carolinians,” Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said in a statement Friday. “Alongside her wife, Lennie, Pearl helped bring marriage equality to the Tar Heel State, and she was a driving force against the discriminatory HB 2 law. Pearl’s smile and wit were infectious, and she endeared herself to countless people across the country through her fearless advocacy.”

Berlin met Gerber in 1964 while a teacher at Wayne State University. The two women—both Brooklyn-born Jews who had completed undergraduate degrees at Boston University—were introduced by a mutual friend in Detroit who thought introducing them would be good for each of their careers as physical educators. Within two years, however, the couple had moved in together.

“We knew from day one,” Gerber said in a 2014 interview. As an unmarried couple, the two celebrated June 2, 1966—the day they committed to living together—as their anniversary.

Berlin moved with Gerber to North Carolina in 1971 after being chosen to head UNC-Greensboro’s new Ph.D. program in physical education. Gerber was denied a position in the same department because, despite still being unmarried, she and Berlin were deemed “too open” about their relationship by the department head.

Berlin worked at UNC-Greensboro until her retirement in 1985. Gerber completed a law degree at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1977—a fact that likely affected the couple’s decision to help lead the charge against Amendment 1 decades later.

“Marriage is a statement that you make in front of your family, your friends, your community. It has a meaning that tells the world who you are,” Gerber said in 2014, shortly before Amendment 1 was ruled unconstitutional by a federal court. “We want to be recognized for what we are—a married couple.”

Berlin and Gerber’s case didn’t directly lead to the repeal of Amendment 1, but it gave them a platform on which they could campaign for further LGBTQ protections in North Carolina. The two were featured in 2014’s Living in the Overlap, a documentary produced by two Winston-Salem-based filmmakers, and a series of Human Rights Campaign advertisements endorsing the gubernatorial campaign of Roy Cooper—who, as attorney general, represented the state’s case against their marriage in 2013—for governor and praising his anti-discriminatory stance with regard to HB 2. In another HRC advertisement, the couple spoke about the importance of voting in the 2016 presidential race.

Berlin, who was ninety-one at the time, let her wife do most of the talking. She couldn’t help laughing when someone asked her who she was voting for, though.

“Who am I voting for?” she chuckled. “Why would you even ask?”