Lesbian pioneers will be first to same-sex couple to marry in California

Angela D'Amboise June 11, 2008
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Four years ago, when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom cleared the way for same-sex marriages, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyons were the first to tie the knot. And the mayor plans to extend them the same honour this year.

Together for more than 50 years, the couple will be the only ones saying ‘I do’ next Monday at San Francisco’s City Hall. The city will begin issuing marriage licenses after 5pm on Monday, but according to the San Francisco Chronicle, everyone else will have to wait until the 17th.

“What we want, the narrative coming out of it, is about them and what they represent,” Newsom told the newspaper.

“Their story, their history. This is really where it all started.”

Martin and Lyons were married for the first time in 2004 but were one of the many couples who saw their marriages struck down in the courts.

This time around they will be getting married for real, with the threat of the marriage ban appearing on the November ballot just around the corner.

If approved, that ban would change the state constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Towle Road quoted the San Francisco Chronicle article, saying:

“The photograph of Lyon and Martin’s wedding, at which Newsom officiated at City Hall, has been credited by some as being an iconic image that has influenced how people across the country perceive same-sex marriage.

“The two also were plaintiffs in the recent case in which the state Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage legal.

“Lyon and Martin first met in Seattle in 1950 and moved in together in a Castro Street apartment on Valentine’s Day 1953.

“Two years later, Lyon and Martin, and three other lesbian couples founded the Daughters of Bilitis, which historians call the first lesbian organisation in the United States. Lyon and Martin have been leaders of the lesbian community ever since.”

© 2008; All Rights Reserved.

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