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No Military Burial for Wife of 74-Year-Old Lesbian Navy Veteran

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Thursday Apr 24, 2014

Idaho says it's a no-go for 74-year-old U.S. Navy veteran Madelynn Taylor to be buried with her wife Jean Mixner's ashes -- at least not as long as that state continues to ban same-sex marriage.

Gay Star News reports that Taylor, who was with Mixner from 1995 until her death in 2012 from emphysema, decided that she wanted to spend eternity with her wife.

But when she contacted Idaho Veterans Cemetery in November to reserve a plot, they said it was nothing doing. It wasn't an issue of space -- Taylor said that she plans to be cremated, and that the two women's ashes could easily fit in the same niche.

The cemetery said that the state constitution bans any recognition of same-sex marriage -- in this life, or the afterlife, one supposes. The two's 2008 marriage in California is not recognized in Idaho, and the Idaho Division of Veterans Services say it's a rule they must abide by.

"I'm a stroke waiting to happen," said Taylor. "I don't see where the ashes of a couple old lesbians is going to hurt anyone."

Ironically, the two could be buried together in a national military cemetery, as Taylor spend six years in the U.S. Navy before being dishonorably discharged after her superiors learned she was gay. She later had that amended to an honorable discharge, after the repeal of the ban on openly gay servicemembers. But Taylor prefers to spend the afterlife near her family in Boise, and has told friends that if the law isn't passed, to hang on to her ashes until it is, and she and her partner can be reunited.

She's making quite a stink about it, as well. She said that she's gone public with her story, and hopes that it will motivate legislators to her cause.

She's also joined the campaign Add The Four Words, which had been holding silent protests in the Idaho Statehouse since 2010 to support the state passing legislation to protect LGBTs from discrimination. Taylor was even arrested at one of these protests last month.

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

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


  • Wayne M., 2014-04-28 20:44:58

    Is this how appreciation is shown to the women and men who made major sacrifices to serve in the armed forces for the country? The laws concerning same-sex marriage are irrelevant when it comes to honouring the sacrifices, courage and wishes of those who serve in military service.

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