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National Center for Lesbian Rights

In Memoriam: Del Martin

Tomorrow, October 1, 2008, we celebrate our founding mother and dear friend, Del Martin.

Del touched many lives with her incomparable passion and dedication, and the modern LGBT civil rights movement would not be the same if it weren’t for her relentless pursuit of justice. Her work with Phyllis Lyon, her partner in every respect, changed the way the world viewed the LGBT community, and their legacy will, no doubt, resonate for decades to come.

On June 16, 2008, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon were married after 55 years together. They were the first couple to wed since the California Supreme Court ruled in May that it was unconstitutional for the state to deny the right to marry for same-sex couples.

Sadly, only six weeks after they were finally able to get married, Del passed away.

Last week, GroundSpark released exclusive footage of Phyllis and Del’s historic wedding ceremony which was officiated by Major Gavin Newsom in San Francisco City Hall. You can watch the video here.

In honor of Del and Phyllis, we encourage you to share this wedding video as widely as possible.
I know most of you are unable to join us in person as we pay tribute to Del’s legacy, but I know you will all be there with us in spirit.

With love,

[Kate Kendall]

Gifts in lieu of flowers can be made to honor Del’s life and commitment and to defeat the California marriage ban through NCLR’s No On 8 PAC at

Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin
Photo by Jane Cleland