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Marriage equality activist Diane Olson passes away

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Diane Olson

Marriage equality activist Diane Olson passes away

Another warrior of the LGBTQ community passed away with the death of marriage equality activist Diane Olson at the age of 65 due to brain cancer last January 16.

Olson– who is survived by her partner for 25 years and fellow activist Robin Tyler– was one of the first same-sex couples to marry in the Los Angeles area when California first legalized this in 2008.

Diane Olson and Robin Tyler: First to marry

Olson and Tyler were plaintiffs that were part of a lawsuit that pushed for marriage equality with the California Supreme Court.

The high court came out with their ruling on May 2008, and the couple were first to marry on June 16 of that year at a courthouse in Beverly Hills.

Another lesbian couple– Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon– were married at the same time in San Francisco, making the two couples the first same-sex couples to legally marry in California.

Prior to their lawsuit, Olson and Tyler had gone to the said courthouse in 2001 on Valentine’s Day to apply for a marriage license, which was rejected.

Every year after that, they continued to apply for a marriage license with other activists.

In 2004, they filed a lawsuit along with Rev. Troy Perry and Phillip Ray de Blieck and represented by attorney Gloria Allred pro bono.

This suit was consolidated with the similar suit from San Francisco, which the Supreme Court ruled on.

However, in November, voters pushed for Proposition 8 that amended the California constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

Diane Olson’s legacy: Marriage equality

A California native, Olson had a long political heritage as her grandfather, Culbert Olson, was California’s first elected governor.

Meanwhile, her great-grandmother, Delilah Cornelia King, was a suffragette who later became the first female elected official in Utah.

But despite her political lineage, Olson was regarded as the quiet partner of the activist and comic, Tyler, during LGBT civil rights demonstrations and media events.

In an interview with The Advocate in 2017, Olson said she wanted her legacy to be her role in the marriage equality movement.

Olson was also part of Tyler’s 5-Star International Tour Company that offered lesbians tours around the world, and they got to travel in the Galapagos, Antarctica, and Thailand.

However, Olson’s favorite place was Botswana in Africa.

In 2012, Olson had lung cancer that metastasized into brain cancer in 2016. They had their last travel to Cancun in October 2018.

Aside from Tyler, Olson is survived by her sister Debra Deanne Olson and nieces Kaitlyn Diane Olson and Chrysta Olson Bilton.

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