Society

Lesbian Navy Vet Fights to Be Buried Next to Her Partner In Idaho Cemetery

| by Allison Geller

A 74-year-old Navy vet is fighting to have her partner buried with her in the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery. Officials are refusing the request because same-sex marriage is banned in the state.

Madelynn Taylor served in the Navy from 1958 to 1964, following a family tradition, according to KTVB.

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"It's what we did. When we were 18, you picked a service and joined,” Taylor said of her six-year service.

After meeting her wife, Jean Mixner, the two were wed at a church retreat in 1995 and then formally in California in 2008.

In 2012, Mixner passed away. Taylor brought the required documents to the Veterans Cemetery to apply to be buried there with her wife once her time came.

"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," Taylor concluded.

According to Idaho’s constitution, "A marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state."

Idaho Division of Veterans Services Deputy Administrator Tamara Mackenthun said there was nothing they could do.

 "We have to follow the state law, and the state law, you know well," Mackenthun told the news station.

Taylor says the refusal was, unfortunately, not unexpected. She was discharged from the Navy when a recruit told a superior that she and other women in her unit were gay. Taylor was able to petition to have her discharge changed to “honorable” later.

"I'm not surprised." Taylor told KBOI. "I've been discriminated against for 70 years, and they might as well discriminate against me in death as well as life."

Still, Taylor is sure she’ll be laid to rest next to her soul mate in the end.

"It's not taking up any more space to have both of us in there, and I don't see where the ashes of a couple of old lesbians is going to hurt anybody," she said.

Sources: KTVB, KBOI