Pocochina’s Weblog

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because history is written in strange and silly ways

Posted by pocochina on June 17, 2008

Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon are not just some sweet little old ladies who waited around for five and a half centuries before some white knight on a horse came and granted them their rights.  Gavin Newsom deserves praises most high for his eagerness to lead on this important critical civil rights issue.  He is an ally which every civil rights movement needs and deserves.

Some more biographical history, from the SFGate (Via PD)

They founded the Daughters of Bilitis in 1955, the first national lesbian organization. In 1964, they helped launch the Council on Religion and the Homosexual, bringing together national religious leaders and gay and lesbian activists to discuss homosexual rights. Lyon, in a challenge to the leadership of the feminist movement, was the first open lesbian on the board of the National Organization for Women in 1973. Martin, meanwhile, helped lead a successful campaign to get the American Psychiatric Association to take homosexuality off its list of mental illnesses.


Let’s just honor that as it deserves, shall we?  They founded the first national lesbian rights organization at the height of the Red Scare – they could have been blacklisted, seen their friends called before HUAC, and instead, they chose courage.

They could have just fought for gay rights, and instead, they chose to take their life experiences and join the fight for the rights of all women, at a time when that movement was not fully accepting of lesbians.  They chose humanity.

They could have accepted that they and everyone like them were labeled as “sick” and instead they chose rightousness.

They did not ask, or expect, anyone to do for them what they set forth to do for their country.

These women are heroes.  They are deserving of their names in the history books, over and over again.  The state recognition of their marriage – while it is a necessary option for many same-sex couples – is but the least of what the community they call home, the state of California, can do for them.

For their marriage, I wish them unremarkableness.  I wish that as married women they live as they have always lived – with joy in life, with faith in humanity, with the courage and steadfastness of their own convictions.

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