Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin at San Francisco City Hall after 2004 wedding (courtesy photo/San Francisco Chronicle)
Two elderly lesbian activists in San Francisco plan to be the first to have a same-sex marriage ceremony in California when the state Supreme Court’s decision is set to take effect this evening.
Del Martin, 87, and Phyllis Lyon, 83, a same-sex couple together since 1950, plan to wed at City Hall in matching pastel pantsuits, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
“We have to remember to say, ‘I do.’ OK?” Lyon reminded her partner.
“I think we can do that,” Martin said.
The women founded the first national lesbian organization in 1955, naming it Daughters of Bilitis. In 1964, they called on religious leaders and “gay” activists to come together and discuss homosexual liberties with their launch of the Council on Religion and the Homosexual.
Lyon became the first openly “gay” board member of the National Organization for Women in 1973. Martin led a victorious crusade to convince the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from a list of mental illnesses.
“It’s really just amazing the progress we’ve made,” Lyon said.
According to the report, they proudly display their activism with appreciation plaques from politicians and civil rights groups and photos of Hillary Clinton, Dianne Feinstein, Shirley Chisholm and Eleanor Roosevelt. Martin and Lyon have a collection of Democrat campaign buttons and a copy of a book they wrote together in 1972 – “Lesbian/Woman.”
It is not their first trip to San Francisco City Hall to tie the knot in lesbian matrimony. In 2004, Martin and Lyon became the first “gay” couple to wed when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and City Attorney Dennis Herrera overstepped their authority and allowed 4,000 same-sex couples to marry. The California Supreme Court put an end to the marriages, saying officials were not authorized to grant permission for “gays” to wed.
However, this time the couple expects things will be different. Their marriage ceremony is supported by a California Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples its blessing.
Mayor Newsom plans to preside over the private ceremony, which is expected to take place behind closed doors in his office at City Hall with 50 family members, friends and political allies.
After the lesbians officially sign the documents and say “I do,” they plan to proudly celebrate their nuptials on the City Hall balcony in a public cake-cutting ceremony.
Meanwhile, the California Supreme Court decision that concluded the state could not constitutionally deny same-sex couples the right to be “married” will move back to the Court of Appeal, and public interest advocates at Liberty Counsel have asked the judges there to stay the ruling until voters decide the issue in November.
WND reported the Supreme Court’s ruling in May, which was accompanied by a sharp rebuke from Justice Marvin Baxter, who contended in his minority opinion that the theory of marriage evolution majority justices cited in their argument now also could be used to support allowing incest or polygamy.
The state Supreme Court previously rejected a request to stay its own ruling until voters decide on a proposed marriage amendment in November, but officials with Liberty Counsel are appealing the decision.
That court will regain jurisdiction of the case at 5 p.m. today. The order from the Supreme Court directs the Court of Appeal to take “further action consistent with this opinion.”