U.S. Navy veteran Madelynn Taylor filed a civil rights suit against the Idaho Division of Veterans Services yesterday, after her request to be buried in the state's vet cemetery with her late wife was denied. Taylor married Jean, who died in 2012, in California in 2008.
According to the Associated Press, Taylor, 74, didn't even think it would be a problem to be buried with Jean, because federal veterans cemeteries allow gay couples to be buried together. The vet cemetery in Idaho is operated by the state, however, and it won't recognize her marriage.
Taylor's health is deteriorating, so sadly, there is a sense of urgency here. Her lawyer tells the AP that Taylor's situation is "among the most extreme examples of the harm caused by state laws that deny respect to the marriages of same-sex couples. Denying these important protections to committed couples is not simply unjust, it is needlessly cruel." The Idaho Division of Veterans Services and the state's attorney general have 60 days to respond to the suit.
Boise Weekly profiled Taylor in April, and she told the magazine how she was administratively discharged from the Navy in the 1960s because she was outed as gay. In 1979, she successfully petitioned for an honorable discharge to get her full benefits back. Taylor also noted that when she met Jean in 1995, it was love at first sight. "Jean was a lady," she said.
[Image via AP]