Gay Nups Hero Del Martin Dead At 87

Oh no! Del Martin, one of the plaintiffs in California’s landmark gay marriage case, has died.

Martin and her longtime lady love, Phyllis Lyon, fought tirelessly for the right to wed and finally got their wish this June, when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom officiated their well-publicized celebration. Martin, whom you can see on the left, was 87 years old.

In honor of Martin’s life of civil rights activism, here’s an excerpt from a 1956 essay she wrote in The Ladder, a lesbian magazine Martin and Lyon edited.

…The lesbian is a very elusive creature. She burrows underground in her fear of identification. She is cautious in her associations. Current modes in hair style and casual attire have enabled her to camouflage her existence. She claims she does not need help. And she will not risk her tight little fist of security to aid those who do.

But surely the ground work has been well laid in the past 5½ years. Homosexuality is not the dirty word it used to be. More and more people, professional and lay, are becoming aware of its meaning and implications.

Lyon was reportedly by her wife’s side when she finally bid the world adieu.