Del Martin, one-half of the first lesbian couple to legally marry in the state of California earlier this summer, died Wednesday at 87.

Martin (on the left) and her partner of more than 50 years, Phyllis Lyon, were married by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Pictures of the ceremony were published worldwide.

No doubt, it came as a surprise to some in the more remote caves of the world. It was the perfect picture of two grandmotherly women exchanging rings and cutting cake. It’s what we’ve known and seen time and again in our community. Del and Phyllis brought that reality to America. 

Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco: “When it comes to the person who moved lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues forward, that figure would be Del Martin. We all stand on her shoulders, and the gains made by the LGBT movement are owed in large part to Del Martin’s legacy.”