May 5, 1921 – August 27, 2008
On June 16, 2008 lesbian rights pioneers Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon were married in the first same-sex marriage ceremony since the California Supreme Court ruled in May that it was unconstitutional for the state to deny the right to marry to gay or lesbian couples.
Sadly, Del Martin, 87, passed away in August, just six weeks after her wedding. She and Phyllis had shared 55 years together and are widely acknowledged as two of the founders of the lesbian and
gay civil rights movement.
Today GroundSpark is honored to release this exclusive footage of Phyllis and Del’s historic wedding ceremony, which was officiated by Mayor Gavin Newsom in his office at San Francisco City Hall.
We do so in tribute to Del Martin, a true civil rights pioneer for her entire life, and in support of the efforts across the United States to guarantee the right to marry for all U.S. citizens, regardless of sexual orientation.
GroundSpark’s executive director, Debra Chasnoff, visited Del and Phyllis this summer and asked them if they wanted to share this wedding video with the world. They talked about the upcoming ballot initiative to amend the California constitution to eliminate this new right to marry for same-sex couples and about similar ballot measures in Arizona and Florida.
“If it will help,” Del Martin said in a whisper, “then let’s do it.”
In honor of Del and Phyllis, we encourage you to share this wedding video as widely as possible.
And here are three steps we invite you to take:
- Take action to defeat the California ballot measure that would eliminate this civil right and write discrimination into the constitution.
- Join GroundSpark’ community of supporters. Learn about our other campaigns and help us continue to use documentary film to ignite change.
- Sign up for GroundSpark’s newsletter and join us in sending support to Phyllis by posting your comments here. We will collect them all and make sure Phyllis gets them.