Madelynn Taylor (Image: National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal )
A 74-year-old American Navy veteran has won her battle to be laid to rest with her late wife at a veteran’s cemetery.
Earlier this year, Madelynn Taylor was told that her request to be buried with her love of 17 years, Jean Mixner, was impossible because the state of Idaho, where the cemetery is located, didn’t recognise same-sex marriages.
On Wednesday, Idaho state officials finally agreed to allow the couple to be interred together after the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, found that Idaho’s ban on marriage equality violated the US Constitution.
The court ordered the licensing of same-sex marriages to begin this month and directed the state to recognise marriages of gay and lesbian couples who married in other states.
Taylor, who served in the Navy in the 50s and 60s, was discharged from the military in 1964 because she is lesbian. She met Mixner in 1995 on a blind date and the two were described as inseparable. They were legally married in 2008 in California. Mixner passed away in 2012.
“Words can’t describe how incredibly grateful I am for all the work that went into making our wishes possible,” said Taylor. “Idaho is where some of our best memories together are and it’s where I want to spend eternity with Jean.”
National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director Shannon P. Minter said that Taylor “deserves credit for shining a powerful light on the injustice and indignity caused by Idaho’s former exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage.
“Her persistence, visibility, and refusal to accept inequality are a model for us all,” Minter added.
Taylor went to the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery on Wednesday to make all the arrangements to have both her ashes and those of her late wife interred together.