Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Idaho Vet works to be buried with ashes of gay partner
First Published Apr 25 2014 08:33 pm • Last Updated Apr 25 2014 08:33 pm

Boise, Idaho • After learning that the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery won’t allow her to be buried with her partner’s ashes, a U.S. Navy vet is working to overturn a state constitutional amendment that says Idaho doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage

Madelynn Taylor of Boise said after her spouse Jean Mixner died in 2012 that she went to the cemetery to make arrangements for them to be buried together. But cemetery rules require a valid marriage certificate.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The Idaho Constitution does not allow the state veteran’s cemetery to recognize a same-sex marriage for burial rights, said Tamara Mackenthun, a deputy administrator with the Idaho Division of Veterans Services.

"I could take the same documents and get buried in Arlington if I needed to, with no problems," said Taylor, who married Mixner in California in 2008. "But here they said it’s a state veteran’s cemetery, not a national cemetery. So we have to go by the state laws. So, we gotta change the state laws."

Taylor, 74, served in the Navy from 1958 to 1964, when she was discharged after another recruit told superiors that she and several other women in her unit were gay. Taylor later petitioned and had her discharge revised to honorable.

As a longtime Idaho resident with brothers and sisters in the state, Taylor said she wants to be buried in Idaho — with Mixner.

"I just feel that it’s the right place for me. You know, I’m a veteran. So they should let me ... in fact they would let me alone, be in that crypt," Taylor said. "But I don’t want to be alone. I want Jean with me."

Taylor, who said she is usually a "background" person, has begun lobbying to overturn the 2006 voter-passed amendment that says: "A marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state."

She joined the Add the Words campaign that sought to amend the state’s Human Rights Act to make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. She said she was arrested twice during the recent legislative session.

For now, Taylor keeps Mixner’s ashes in her closet.


story continues below
story continues below

She said the boxes are smaller than the space the veteran’s cemetery allots for cremains.

"Two of them will fit in there easily," Taylor said. "If they’re going to put me in there, they might as well slide in a second box."

"I don’t see where the ashes of a couple old lesbians is going to hurt anyone," Taylor said.

Taylor said if she dies without both being accepted for burial in the cemetery, someone will keep their ashes together until the rules change.

"Eventually I’m going to be there," she said. "It’ll happen. They might as well give up and let us go now."



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.