May 2, 2014 8:48 am

Retired U.S. army vet offers burial plot to lesbian widow

Madelynn Taylor (shown here), 74, said she inquired with Idaho State Veterans Cemetery about a shared burial plot after her spouse Jean Mixner died in 2012. H

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TORONTO – A former U.S. Army colonel has offered up his burial plot to a fellow veteran after her request to be buried next to her wife was refused.

Madelynn Taylor, 74, said she inquired with Idaho State Veterans Cemetery about a shared burial plot after her spouse Jean Mixner died in 2012. Her application to reserve a spot was reportedly denied because Taylor and her wife did not have the Idaho marriage license required under its rules. 

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The couple were married out of state in 2008 as Idaho currently has a ban on same-sex marriage.

According to the Washington Post, the state military cemetery requires a valid marriage licence certificate for a non-military spouse, in this case Mixner, to be buried alongside a veteran.  Taylor served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War from 1958 to 1964.

In an open letter posted Wednesday, veteran Barry Johnson said he is “tired of all the hoo-hah over something this ridiculous.”

“Serving in uniform has always been about earning trust and has never been about sexuality,” he wrote. “It also seems to me that relationships can be awfully difficult no matter who you choose to be in one with. So if you find one that works … well, good for you. My hat is off to you.”
The 27-year-old said he is donating his plot in the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery because it would make him “happy to give my fellow veteran that small peace of mind.””And I do it to honor all the great Americans I’ve served with along the way – gay, straight, whatever.”Taylor said when she dies, she would like her and her wife’s ashes, which she currently keeps in a box at home, to be buried together. While the couple can be laid to rest together in a national veterans cemetery, Taylor said she wants to be “buried in the state where her family still lives and where she built a life with her partner.”

Johnson said he is not even sure if it’s possible to donate his plot, but is sincere in his willingness to do so.

“She [Taylor] cared for another person with all her heart and had to watch that person die,” says the letter. “She is a veteran. She loves her country. She wants her partner by her side and she wants to eternally rest among veterans in the state she made home.
“Madelynn, you deserve that.”

“Give Madelynn and Jean and others like them a break. Stop finding reasons to make life – and in this case, death – harder than it needs to be. That’s just irritating as hell and disrespectful to boot.”

(You can read Johnson’s full letter here)

It is unclear if the cemetery will allow the transfer.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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