Pelosi Statement on the Passing of Phyllis Lyon

Apr 9, 2020
Press Release

Contact: Speaker’s Press Office,


San Francisco – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement on the passing of civil rights champion Phyllis Lyon:

“Today, I was heartbroken to hear of the passing of Phyllis Lyon: an icon of San Francisco, a trailblazer in the fight for civil rights and a dear friend to so many in our city and to me.  Phyllis dedicated her entire life to advancing equality for the LGBTQ community and in the process delivered extraordinary progress for all Americans.

“Phyllis, together with her beloved late wife Del Martin, was on the vanguard in the fight to make real the promise of equality for LGBTQ Americans since the earliest days of this struggle.  As a journalist, community organizer and clarion voice for justice, Phyllis fought always to hold our nation accountable to its Founding values – whether working to decriminalize homosexuality, promote women’s health, outlaw employment discrimination in San Francisco or ensure that our city respected the dignity of all people.

“Phyllis was a tireless champion for the most vulnerable among us.  I was proud to appoint her to the 1995 White House Conference on Aging, where she was a powerful force in defending of the rights of lesbian seniors and all women.  The Lyon-Martin Health Services, named in honor of Phyllis and Del’s dedication to the health and well-being of women, continues to be a model for community-based health care and provides life-saving services and care for all women, no matter who they are or whom they love.  It is a fitting tribute to Phyllis’s beautiful legacy of service.   

“All those who were blessed to know Phyllis and Del remember the extraordinary love that they had for each other and the great joy we felt watching them becoming the first same-sex marriage recognized in San Francisco.  As we mourn the loss of our dear Phyllis, we find peace in knowing that she and Del are together again.  May it be a comfort to Phyllis’s daughter Kendra, sister Patricia, grandchildren Lorri and Kevin and her entire family that so many mourn their loss and pray for them at this sad time.”

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