US: 74-year-old lesbian veteran denied request to be buried with late wife
A US veteran in the state of Idaho has been told that she may not be buried with her partner as same-sex marriages are not recognised there.
74-year-old Madelynn Taylor saved in the Navy for six years from 1958-64. She says everyone in her family did so.
After meeting her late wife Jean Mixner years ago, the pair married in Oregon in 1995 at a church retreat, and formally in California after that.
Mixner died in 2012, and Taylor asked the Veterans’ Cemetary last year, with all the official documents, but was told that because the cemetery is state-run, not nationally, the law would not allow it.
“I thought they’d say okay because in any federal cemetery it is okay, in any national cemetery,” Taylor said.
“I could take the same documents and get buried in Arlington if I needed to, with no problems. But here they said it’s a state veterans cemetery, not a national cemetery. So we have to go by the state laws. So, we gotta change the state laws.”
The Idaho State Constitution reads: “A marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”
A spokesman for the Veteran Services said it must follow state laws.
Saying she did not take the denial personally, Taylor said she hoped to work in the background to change the Idaho State Constitution.
“I just feel that it’s the right place for me. You know, I’m a veteran. So they should let me… in fact they would let me alone, be in that crypt… But I don’t want to alone. I want Jean with me,” she said.
Mixner’s ashes are currently kept with Taylor. If Taylor dies before the issue is resolved, she said the remains of both will be kept until they can both be put into the cemetery.
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