Same-Sex-Marriage Trailblazer Phyllis Lyon

by Meredith May | San Francisco Chronicle

As the California courts debate same-sex marriage, the woman who was the first to marry another woman in San Francisco, Phyllis Lyon, is avoiding much of the coverage. Instead, the 85-year-old widow is sorting through boxes of mementos, newspaper clippings and proclamations given to Lyon and her late partner of 55 years, Del Martin.

On Feb. 12, 2004, Lyon and Martin became the first gay couple to marry after Mayor Gavin Newsom sanctioned same-sex weddings. They were first in line again in San Francisco in May 2008, when the state Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriages legal. Less than three months later, Martin died, and three months after that, voters passed Proposition 8, banning gay Californians from getting married.

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