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Martin, Del 1921-2008 (Dorothy Martin, Dorothy L. Martin, Dorothy L. Taliaferro)

Martin, Del 1921-2008 (Dorothy Martin, Dorothy L. Martin, Dorothy L. Taliaferro)


See index for CA sketch: Born May 5, 1921, in San Francisco, CA; died August 27, 2008, in San Francisco, CA. Activist, community organizer, editor, and author. At the age of eighty-six and only two months before her death, Martin and her life partner Phyllis Lyon became the first (and possibly oldest) same-sex couple to be legally married in a civil ceremony in her native San Francisco. It was a long-delayed reward for more than fifty years of domestic bliss and a life of service to women's causes and to the advancement of gay and lesbian rights. Martin was working as the editor of a trade journal when she met Lyon in 1953. In 1955 the couple moved to San Francisco, where Martin became a cofounder of the Daughters of Bilitis, the earliest-known social organization and safe haven for lesbians in the country. She led the organization and edited its newsletter in the early 1960s. Martin's activism continued for the rest of her life, as a cofounder of the Council on Religion and the Homosexual in the 1960s, a member of the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club in the 1970s, and a member of Old Lesbians Organizing for Change. Though Martin was most visible in her activism on behalf of gays and lesbians, she also promoted the safety, equality, and welfare of all women. She was a board member of the National Organization for Women, a cofounder of San Francisco Women's Centers and the Coalition for Justice for Battered Women, and an advisor to Gay/Lesbian Outreach to Elders. These activities represented only a few of her many contributions at the community, state, and national level. Martin received many awards for her commitment and perseverance, including an Earl Warren Civil Liberties Award from a state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, a book award from the Social Responsibilities Roundtable of the American Library Association, and the Lesbian Rights Award from Southern California Women for Understanding. Martin wrote articles for magazines from Open Hands to Challenge: A Theological Arts Journal, and her work was widely anthologized. She also published the books Lesbian/Woman (1972), Lesbian Love and Liberation (1973), Battered Wives (1976), and The Male Batterer: A Treatment Approach (1985).



Chicago Tribune, August 28, 2008, sec. 2, p. 9.

New York Times, August 28, 2008, p. C10.

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