Cemetery Refuses to Bury Gay Veteran With Wife

Because Idaho state law forbids gay marriage

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 27, 2014 6:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – A Navy veteran in Idaho wants to be interred with her late wife, but a cemetery said no—although it does inter and bury opposite-sex spouses with veterans, Yahoo reports. Madelynn Taylor, 74, asked the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery if their ashes could be placed together, but the cemetery said it had to respect the state's ban on gay marriage. Taylor's California marital papers could get them "buried in Arlington if I needed to, with no problems," she tells KBOI. "But here they said it's a state veterans cemetery, not a national cemetery." Her conclusion? "We gotta change the state laws."

Taylor served for 6 years in the 1950s and 60s, until she was kicked out of her unit for being gay. She petitioned and had her discharge switched to honorable, but still considers herself a "background person" who tends to "stammer and stutter," she tells KHOU. Yet she's standing up this time, adding her name to the Add the 4 Words movement to include "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" in Idaho's human rights act. Idaho Gov. CL "Butch" Otter issued a statement defending the cemetery, but Taylor believes she'll win: "It'll happen," she says. For now, she's keeping her late wife's ashes on top of the closet. "I don't see where the ashes of a couple old lesbians is going to hurt anyone."

  (Shutterstock)
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