Del Martin, right, and Phyllis Lyon
Del Martin, one of the nation’s foremost lesbian activists, died today at UCSF Hospital in San Francisco at the age of 87.
Martin and her lifelong partner, Phyllis Lyon, were the first same-sex couple married in California in 2004 when Mayor Gavin Newsom declared the city would recognize gay marriages. And they were married again â€” in the city hall with Newsom officiating â€” in June this year, after 55 years together, after the California Supreme Court ruled the state must recognize same-sex marriage.
But their activism dates back to the 1950s when they co-founded the Daughters of Bilitis and started publishing the lesbian newsletter “The Ladder.” Del Martin co-founded the Council on Religion and the Homosexual in the 1960s, and she was the first open lesbian elected to the board of N.O.W., among many other firsts.
Martin was also known as an author and an advocate for women, especially battered women.
As Kate Kendall, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said in an e-mail announcing Martin’s death: “Today, the LGBT movement lost a real hero.”
Watch Friday’s issue of Dallas Voice for a complete obituary.