Press Releases

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on the death of Phyllis Lyon:

“I’m so sad at the passing of Phyllis Lyon, a trailblazer, a fearless activist and a good friend. She truly left an indelible mark on San Francisco.

“Through her work at the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club – the first gay political organization – Phyllis made real waves in the city. It was more than 40 years ago that Phyllis and her partner Del advocated for an ordinance to prohibit workplace and housing discrimination against gays and lesbians. It took a lot of work, but that ordinance passed – the first of any large U.S. city – and it was largely because of the tireless work of Phyllis.

“I remember in the 1970s when Phyllis and Del held an unofficial wedding at my house in San Francisco. It was such a celebration of love, and it wasn’t to be their last nuptials. Phyllis and Del were the first same-sex couple to get a wedding license in 2004 when then-Mayor Newsom legalized gay marriage in San Francisco. And they were the first same-sex couple to marry when California legalized gay marriage in 2008. True trailblazers.

“Phyllis led an amazing life. She was a journalist, she worked with Reverend Cecil Williams at Glide Memorial Church, she co-founded the National Sex Forum, she was a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and she co-founded the Daughters of Bilitis, the first political organization for lesbians. She had the energy of 10 people and got the results of 100.

“Phyllis was a real power, not only for San Francisco but for the country, and I’ll truly miss her energy, determination and kindness.”