27 August 2008

Del Martin dies - spouse in first legal same-gender California marriage

According to Gay.com and the Advocate, renowned lesbian activist Dorothy L. (Del) Martin died Wednesday at UCSF Hospice in San Francisco. Del is on the left in the photo.
An eloquent organizer for civil rights, civil liberties and human dignity, Del Martin created and helped shape the modern LGBT and feminist movements. She was a woman of extraordinary courage, persistence, intelligence, humor and fundamental decency who refused to be silenced by fear and never stopped fighting for equality.

A broken arm wleo weeks ago exacerbated Martin's existing health problems, said Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
Her last public political act, on June 16, 2008, was to marry Phyllis Lyon, her partner of 55 years.

They were the first couple to wed in San Francisco after the California Supreme Court recognized that marriage for same-sex couples is a fundamental right in a case brought by plaintiffs including Martin and Lyon.

"We would not have marriage equality in California if it weren't for Del and Phyllis. They fought and triumphed in many battles," said U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco. "Through it all, their love and commitment to each other was an inspiration to all who knew them."

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who officiated their wedding, ordered American flags at City Hall and the rainbow flag in the Castro District to be flown at half-staff. Plans for a public memorial are pending.