I first wrote about Madelynn Taylor — a 74-year-old US … United States … Navy veteran — back in April of this year; see post HERE.
Here’s a recap: Madelynn Taylor met and fell in love with Jean Mixner back in 1995, and they were married in California in 2008; afterwards they moved to Idaho and lived happily ever after until Jean died in 2012.
Madelynn Taylor, who had Jean cremated, wanted to be buried in Idaho’s Veterans Cemetery — she’s a veteran, remember — and she wanted to have Jean’s ashes interred with her. She contacted the cemetery to reserve one single plot for both she and her wife, but was told that they could not be buried together, not because of the space, but because, at that time, same-sex marriage was illegal, and unrecognized in Idaho.
To be clear, however, both Taylor and Mixner could be buried together in a national military cemetery — because their marriage is federally recognized — but Taylor wants to be buried in Boise where there are family close by. She even went so far as to ask a friend to hold onto her wife’s ashes, and hers, should she die before marriage became legal, and have them buried together then. And then, Barry Johnson is a retired U.S. Army colonel who lives in Potlatch, Idaho, became involved after he read Madelynn’s story; see that post HERE.
Barry wrote to Madelynn via The Idaho Statesman:
“I'll tell you what. I will donate the plot I earned in the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery to you and Jean. I am 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.”
Now, it looks like he won’t have to do that; now it looks like Madelynn won’t have to have a friend old onto the ashes, because last week Idaho state officials agreed to allow Madelynn and Jean to be buried together.
The first thing Madelynn Taylor did was to head to the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery to make arrangements to have both her ashes and those of her late wife interred together at the cemetery.
Simple, yes, but it took the recent victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which found that Idaho’s ban on marriage equality violated the U.S. Constitution, to allow these women, this couple, the rights that every other opposite-sex married couple in this country has taken for granted forever.
“Words can’t describe how incredibly grateful I am for all the work that went into making our wishes possible. Idaho is where some of our best memories together are and it’s where I want to spend eternity with Jean.”—Madelynn Taylor
It seems such a simple request, one that, for many, is a non-issue, but it’s just another perk of equality for married same-sex couples.
Even in Idaho.