Monday, June 16, 2008

del martin and phyllis lyon - a love story

while reading about today's glorious news of true legal gay marriage in california (goddess i wish i was there!) i noticed a story; many of you probably saw it.

the story is about these two women, Del Martin, 87, and Phyllis Lyon, 83, who were married today, June 16, 2008, after 55 years of committed partnership.

i began to read their story. and i was moved to post something for them.

amongst so many horrific things in the world, a jewel like this story should be treasured, and appreciated.

which is why i put it here. for love.

so here it is.

all info from wikipedia and sfgate.

del martin (right, all photos) and phyllis lyon (left, all photos) met in 1950, and were committed partners by 1953, living in san francisco. in 1955 they formed the first major lesbian organization in the united states, the daughters of bilitis, or DOB.

the group was conceived as a social alternative to lesbian bars, which were illegal, and thus subject to raids and police harassment. their goal was to provide a safe place for lesbians to socialize and comgregate.

The DOB advertised itself as, "A Woman's Organization for the purpose of Promoting the Integration of the Homosexual into Society."[14]

New York chapter president Barbara Gittings noted that the word "variant" was used instead of "lesbian" in the mission statement, since "lesbian" was a word that implied a very negative meaning in 1956.[15]

The statement was composed of four parts that prioritized the purpose of the organization, and it was printed on the inside of the cover of every issue of The Ladder until 1970:

1. Education of the enable her to understand herself and make her adjustment to society...this to be accomplished by establishing...a library...on the sex deviant theme; by sponsoring public be conducted by leading members of the legal psychiatric, religious and other professions; by advocating a mode of behavior and dress acceptable to society.

2. Education of the public...leading to an eventual breakdown of erroneous taboos and prejudices...

3. Participation in research projects by duly authorized and responsible psychologists, sociologists, and other such experts directed towards further knowledge of the homosexual.

4. Investigation of the penal code as it pertain to the homosexual, proposal of changes,...and promotion of these changes through the due process of law in the state legislatures."[16]

advocating modes of behavior and dress? a different kind of progress? an interesting echo of the integration/assimilation/equality attempts of early civil rights figures like frederick douglass.

where lies judgment if you cannot imagine that world?

"Bilitis," incidentally, is the name given to a fictional lesbian contemporary of Sappho, by the French poet Pierre Lou├┐s in his 1894 work, The Songs of Bilitis.

The Songs of Bilitis address themselves to the sapphic love of women and girls. the book became a sought-after cult item among the 20th-century lesbian underground and was only reprinted officially in the 1970s.

the daughters of bilitis was founded in 1956.

more about these amazing women here.
first marriage

wdel and phyllis were the very first same-sex couple to be wedded in san francisco on february 12 2004, when mayor gavin newsom ordered that marriage licenses be given to same-sex couples who requested them.

that first marriage was voided by the california supreme court on august 12, 2004, along with those of several thousand other same-sex couples who had gotten married on that beautiful valentine's day weekend in san francisco.
but then...

On May 15, 2008 the Supreme Court struck down California's existing statutes limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples in a 4-3 ruling. The judicial ruling overturned the one-man, one-woman marriage law which the California Legislature had passed in 1977 and Proposition 22. After the ruling, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement repeating his pledge to oppose the Limit on Marriage Amendment, the ballot initiative that would override the ruling.

The opinion, written by Chief Justice Ronald M. George, cited the court's 1948 decision that reversed the state's interracial marriages ban. It found that "equal respect and dignity" of marriage is a "basic civil right" that cannot be withheld from same-sex couples, that sexual orientation is a protected class like race and gender, and that any classification or discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is subject to strict scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause of the California State Constitution. Associate Justices Joyce L. Kennard, Kathryn Werdegar, and Carlos R. Moreno concurred. It is the first state high court in the country to do so. The Massachusetts State Supreme Court, by contrast, did not find sexual orientation to be a protected class, and instead voided its gay-marriage ban on rational basis review.

gavin newsom married del and phyllis today, June 16, 2008.
they have been committed partners since 1953 - 55 years.

i am so grateful to be alive to see this day. and i'm so glad they THEY have both lived to see it too!

it makes me so happy.


Moonroot said...

What a marvellous story! It makes me happy, too.

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