Phyllis Lyon

Phyllis + Del: Six Decades of Love

Feb 12, 2015

On this Valentine's weekend, Out in the Bay honors one of San Francisco's favorite couples - pioneering civil rights activists Phyllis Lyon and the late Del Martin. Valentine's Day was their anniversary. They co-founded the nation's first lesbian political organization, the Daughters of Bilitis, in 1955. They were together more than 55 years before they could legally wed, as the first same-sex couple to marry in San Francisco City Hall in 2008. They had also been the first same-sex couple to wed in February 2004 when Mayor Gavin Newsom challenged state law. (He lost the first round, but eventually won). On this special edition of Out in the Bay, hear Del & Phyllis' love story, shared with producer Eric Jansen over their kitchen table in 2006, along with some of their favorite music and tales of life in San Francisco from 1950 to now. Also on this encore broadcast, outLoud Radio brings us perspectives on love from young, old and in-between.

Phyllis Lyon was the founder of the first lesbian rights organization in the United States, Daughters of Bilitis, in 1955. You may recall her name, as she and her wife Dell Martin were the first same sex couple to be married under the authority of Gavin Newsom when he became mayor in 2004. Phyllis recounts her life experiences such as connecting with Dell Martin, navigating anti-gay laws in San Francisco in the 1950's, her book Lesbian/woman, and shifting her perspective on marriage at the StoryCorps booth in San Francisco, where she spoke with Margee Adams.