Friday, August 29, 2008

Obit: Del Martin

From The Independent:
"Del Martin, the pioneering lesbian rights activist whose career spanned more than five decades, and who twice took part in California's “first” gay marriage, has died at the age of 87.

The news emerged three months after Mrs Martin and Mrs Lyon became the first couple to legally exchange vows following California's decision to lift its ban on same-sex marriage. It was their second attempt to marry: a previous ceremony, which kicked-off a city-wide series of 4,000 same-sex weddings in 2004, was later declared illegal.

Martin, a self-styled writer and "organiser," was one of eight women who in 1956 founded Daughters of Bilitis, America's first lesbian rights group, named after a 19th-century book of lesbian love poetry. She later became the editor of its influential newsletter, The Ladder, and wrote the agenda-setting books Lesbian / Woman and Battered Wives.

In the 1960s, she successfully led a campaign for the American Psychiatric Association to take homosexuality off its list of mental disorders, and was also a founder of the Lesbian Mothers Union, National Organisation for Women, Council on Religion and the Homosexual, and the Alice B Toklas Democratic Club, America's first openly gay political organisation.

In later years, Mrs Martin was at the forefront of the long-running campaign for same-sex marriage."

Ms Martin's passing was also reported in:
Boston Globe ~~~ Sun Times ~~~ The News Tribune ~~~ The Press Democrat ~~~ CNN ~~~ USA Today ~~~ The Star ~~~ CBS News ~~~ News Day

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