I  am so very sad today to learn that Del Martin died this morning at the age of 87. Del Martin and her partner Phyllis Lyon, captured our hearts recently by being the first couple to be married after San Francisco Mayor allowed same-sex marriages in 2004 and again on June 16, 2008 after the California Supreme Court ruling legalizing it.

Phyllis Lyon and and Del Martin, 83 look at each other after being married at city hall. Del and Phyllis were together for a life-time – 55 years! They met in1950 after college in Seattle when both worked for the same company. In 1955 they moved to San Francisco and bought a small house that they lived in together ever since.

I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been to be gay in the 50’s. It was hard enough for me in the 80’s and 90’s. When I saw Del and Phyllis on TV in June getting married, I was in awe, captured by their strength and resolve and love.

I feel that I have been fortunate enough to be in love myself and can’t imagine the sorrow and loss that Phyllis must feel today – her partner, her conscience, her best friend and her love is gone.

del-phyllis1 We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to those like Del and Phyllis who fought the brave fight before us and allowed us to live and walk free in a mostly accepting society.

Her life wish was to finally be allowed to marry her partner and in June she was granted this wish. Let’s hope that Proposition 8 on the California November ballot fails and we can all continue to chase our dreams and live and die in love.

Gifts in lieu of flowers can be made to honor Del’s life and commitment and to defeat the California marriage ban through the National Center for Lesbian Rights NO on 8 committee at www.nclrights.org/NoOn8.

To read the obituary for Del Martin at Equality California click here.

For more information on Proposition No. 8 and how you can help, click here.

Rest in peace Del. Your work is done here.

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