A same-sex couple who braved an anti-LGBT rally to attempt to get a marriage license in North Carolina earlier this month were legally married in Washington D.C. this week.

Dericka and Keisha Hollifield went to a North Carolina clerk’s office on 22 July to request a marriage license knowing they would be turned away while the state’s ban on marriage is in place.

The couple’s action was part of the Campaign for Southern Equality’s WE DO Campaign.

They faced a crowd of over 100 marriage equality opponents who gathered outside the courthouse in protest of their action, according to Buzzfeed.

After being turned away in North Carolina, the couple traveled to Washington D.C. to marry just a few days later.

But the eight-hour trip was almost canceled when Keisha needed emergency surgery just days before their planned wedding date.

Dericka told Buzzfeed: “I was fully prepared for us to delay the entire trip and marriage, but Keisha was insistent that there was no better time.”

The couple told Buzzfeed the emergency surgery brought the value of marriage to light because Dericka and Keisha could have lawfully been denied numerous rights afforded to married couples when it comes to hospital visitation and medical care.

Dericka said: “I am extremely fortunate to have supportive in-laws who would respect and honor my decisions as Keisha’s wife — but we did not have health care power of attorneys’, living wills, or a marriage license so technically I could have been denied that opportunity.”

The couple eventually made it to a Washington D.C. courthouse as planned and had no issues getting a marriage license.

Dericka told Buzzfeed of the wedding: “I became her wife, and she became mine — a title we have never had used personally, nor with anyone in our pasts. It was an incredibly huge honor, and I think being a wife is one of the most honorable things I can do with my life.”

The 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban earlier this week. That court has jurisdiction over Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

North Carolina’s attorney general said earlier this week that prosecutors will not continue to defend his state’s ban on same-sex marriage.