Gay veteran believes overturn of marriage ban will allow burial with partner

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by Jamie Grey

khou.com

Posted on May 15, 2014 at 8:02 AM

MERIDIAN -- A Meridian Navy veteran believes Tuesday's court ruling that overturns Idaho's ban on gay marriage will help her in the fight to be buried with her late partner in the state's veteran's cemetery.

Madelynn Taylor has been sharing her story over the last few weeks, hoping to get laws changed for herself and other veterans. Her partner, Jean Mixner, passed away in 2012. Taylor applied to the Veterans Cemetery for burial, but was denied.

As KTVB reported last month, the state has said the couple's ashes cannot be interred together because their legal California marriage isn't recognized in Idaho. Cemetery requirements for spousal burials require legally accepted proof of marriage.

Earlier this week, on Monday, Taylor filed papers at the cemetery with her attorney, who also represented the four couples in the marriage case. On Tuesday, the court ruling came down, so she believes the state will have to allow her and her partner to be interred together.

As of Wednesday, she still doesn't have permission from the cemetery, but she's hoping to get a response soon and wants the state to stop fighting gay marriage.

"Butch Otter and all those fuddy-duddies in the legislature are all on the wrong side of history, and they might as well own up to it," Taylor said. "I don't understand why Butch Otter's allowing them to spend $1 million to fight a lost cause. I mean, that's my tax money, it can fill these potholes out here."

The Idaho Division of Veterans Services Administrator, David E. Brasuel, says as the law stands right now, the Attorney General's Office has advised the division that Taylor's marriage is not recognized.

"That's the direction we have received, and we want to make sure we treat everyone with the dignity and respect they deserve. We'll see if things change," Brasuel said.

Brasuel says they will await further guidance should things change Friday.

"We're very sympathetic to Ms. Taylor's situation. As veteran's advocates, we have a great sympathy for her situation. Because we want to serve her. Because she is an honorably discharged veteran. But we are bound, and we must follow the law," Brasuel said.

Brasuel says all cemetery applications are processed at the end of each month, so Taylor's will be processed at the end of May, along with any other veterans' applications this month.

 

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