Yesterday the LGBT community lost one of its pioneers when 87-year-old lesbian activist Del Martin passed away in San Francisco with her partner of 55 years — and wife of two months — Phyllis Lyon at her side.
Del and Phyllis were among the plaintiffs in the combined lawsuit brought by the ACLU, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, and several other civil rights organizations and individuals that won the right to marry for same-sex couples earlier this summer, and they were the first same-sex couple to be married in San Francisco on June 16, 2008, after the California Supreme Court overturned that state's ban on marriage for couples like Del and Phyllis. But that was only her most recent step in a lifetime of advances for LGBT people, more of which you can learn about here.
Del's role in history and her continued relevance today are huge. As National Center for Lesbian Rights executive Director Kate Kendell noted in her own remembrance of Del, "We now have a fierce and mighty angel on our side."
We join the greater LGBT community in mourning Del's death, and our thoughts are with Phyllis today.
Progress doesn’t happen without people like Del Martin going out to change their communities and their worlds. Learn how you can make a difference at Get Busy, Get Equal.