Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

A True Pioneer

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

A True Pioneer

Article excerpt

I'M A PRETTY FORTUNATE GUY. On my first day on the job at The Advocate, I flew to San Francisco to attend Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon's wedding "reception." I use the quotes not because theirs wasn't a real wedding. Quite the opposite. These women--gay rights pioneers and partners for 55 years--were the first same-sex couple to wed after the state supreme court's groundbreaking ruling; their union serves as a model for us all, straight or gay. No, the quotes are there because the reception was really more of a press conference--hundreds of reporters and camera people crowding around several levels of a rotunda in City Hall. Pressed against a marble pillar and peering between layers of shoulders, I caught a glimpse of the newlyweds as they cut their cake and, for a quick second, I felt a shiver of clarity. This is what life is about, I thought. And these women, dwarfed by the crowd and a little mystified by the attention, have known it all along.

Del Martin died on August 27 at the age of 87. She left her wife of two months after a lifetime together. "Ever since I met Del 55 years ago, I could never imagine a day would come when she wouldn't be by my side," Lyon told the San Francisco Chronicle. …

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