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Lesbian pioneer dies months after California wedding
LOS ANGELES |
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Lesbian activist Del Martin died on Wednesday, just two months after marrying her partner of 55 years in one of the first legally recognized California same-sex weddings.
Martin, 87, who wed Phyllis Lyon, 83, in San Francisco's City Hall in June, died of natural causes at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center on Wednesday morning, the National Center for Lesbian Rights said.
The same-sex couple also had been the first in California to marry in San Francisco's 2004 "Winter of Love," when Mayor Gavin Newsom opened the door to gay marriage. Those unions were annulled, but an ensuing legal battle ended this summer with court backing of same-sex marriages. A stampede of marriages followed.
Trend-setting California is one of only a few countries and U.S. states to allow same-sex marriage, although state voters in November will decide whether to abolish the right.
"I am devastated, but I take some solace in knowing we were able to enjoy the ultimate rite of love and commitment before she passed," Lyon said in a statement after her wife's death.
(Reporting by Peter Henderson; Editing by Eric Beech)
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