I was deeeply saddened when I opened my email today to find out that Del Martin passed. As a huge activist for gay and lesbian rights, her strength and her spark will be severely missed. When I first her story and what she had been doing for gay rights, I was deeply moved, even more so when she was finally able to marry her partner of 55 years just recently with the passing of the California law allowing gay marriages. It’s because of strong women like her that people are able to achieve the rights and freedoms they have and commend all her work and will feel the loss of someone who in her work could mentor future activists and show them the paths to take to achieve their goals. Here’s what the San Francisco Chronicle has to say:
Ms. Martin, an author and organizer, died at UCSF Hospice after a long period of declining health. She was 87 and was admitted to the hospital nearly two weeks ago with a broken arm.
Ms. Martin’s crusading began in 1955, during an era in America known more for social conformity than for rebellion, when she co-founded a lesbian social-turned-political organization, Daughters of Bilitis, named after a 19th century book of lesbian love poetry.
This year, on June 16, she and her partner of 55 years, Phyllis Lyon, were legally wed. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom officiated. Theirs was among the first same-sex nuptials in California.
“Her last act of activism was her most personal – marrying the love of her life,” said Kate Kendell, a longtime friend of the couple and executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
My heart goes out to her partner Lynn and her family.