Pioneer of LGBT Rights Has Died

Sanhita SinhaRoy

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Del Martin died today.For those of you who don't recognize the name, you may remember the iconic photo of Del and her partner of 55 years, Phyllis Lyon, on the front page of the New York Times after they became the first same-sex couple to marry in California on June 16.Del was 87.I had the privilege of hearing Del and Phyllis speak at a National Gay and Lesbian Task Force meeting in St. Louis a few years back. What stood out to me was how reluctant she and Phyllis were to being seen as heroes. They were just every-day folks, she had said.But they were more than that. Del and Phyllis were pioneers, co-founding the nation's first outspoken advocacy group for lesbians, the Daughters of Bilitis.Phyllis issued this statement:"I am so lucky to have known her, loved her and been her partner in all things. I am devastated, but I take some solace in knowing we were able to enjoy the ultimate rite of love and commitment before she passed."In honor of Del and the many other pioneers for equal rights, let's hope California's anti-gay Proposition 8 does not pass this November.

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Sanhita SinhaRoy, managing editor of American Libraries magazine, is a former managing editor of In These Times and a former copy editor of Playboy. (Yes, she did read it for the articles.)
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