Sunday, February 8, 2009

Lyon and Martin

Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon met in 1950. They became lovers in 1952 and moved in together on Valentine's Day in 1953 in an apartment on Castro Street in San Francisco. They were feminists and gay-rights activists and co-founded an organization called the Daughters of Bilitis. It was the first social and political organization for lesbians in the United States.

On February 12, 2004, Del and Phyllis went to City Hall and asked to be married. Mayor Gavin Newsom allowed them to be married, even though it was against the law. Later, the California Supreme Court said their marriage was illegal.

A few years later, on May 17, 2008, the California Supreme Court decided it was unconstitutional to deny marriage rights to same-sex couples. On June 16, 2008, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon returned to City Hall and were married by Mayor Newsom after 55 years together. This time it was legal.

On November 4, 2008, Californians passed Proposition 8. Prop 8 changed the California Constitution and made it illegal for same-sex couples to marry.

Del Martin died on August 27, 2008.

You can watch a video of their marriage here:

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