Best Gay Marriage Icon - 2010
When she and Del Martin first met in the early 1950s, Phyllis Lyon had never even heard the word "lesbian." Today, at 85, Lyon is nothing short of a trailblazer and icon in the gay rights movement. On Feb. 12, 2004, the day Mayor Gavin Newsom began allowing same-sex marriage in San Francisco, Lyon and Martin became the city's first gay spouses. Although their marriage license was voided shortly afterward, they were the first to be married again in May 2008, after the state Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was legal. The activist couple stayed together for 55 years, constantly fighting for equal rights, until Martin passed away in Aug. 2008. Lyon still lives in the Noe Valley home they purchased in 1953. She misses the love of her life dearly, and spends much of her time going through Martin's things, collecting mementos for the city's GLBT Historical Society. No question about it, San Francisco loves Phyllis Lyon, and the feeling is mutual. "One of the things about San Francisco is that it's a great place for gays and lesbians," she says. "I'm sure there are a lot of people that don't like us, but I don't know where they are."