Madelynn Taylor says it best: “I don’t see where the ashes of a couple old lesbians is going to hurt anyone.”
The 74-year-old US Navy veteran is fighting for the right to have her ashes buried with those of her late wife Jean Mixner in an Idaho state military cemetery, but since the state constitution bans same-sex marriage, she’s being told no.
That California marriage license the couple got in 2008? Makes no difference in Idaho.
Taylor is taking her story public to try and persuade lawmakers to address the injustice, since anyone willing to listen would surely agree that the issue stinks to high heaven.
But she also isn’t expecting much momentum – a reality she’s learned through decades of discrimination.
After six years of service in the US Navy, Taylor was dishonorably discharged after her superiors learned of her sexuality. She appealed once the ban on gay servicemen/women was lifted, and her status was revised to honorable.
“I’ve been discriminated against for 70 years, and they might as well discriminate against me in death as well as life,” she said.
Though she could opt for a national military cemetery instead, she wants to stay close to home, not to mention wanting recognition on mere principle.
It’s appalling to think that there’s nothing to be done but pressure the state legislature, but perhaps stories like this can stoke the fire of change.
And though it might not happen in Taylor’s lifetime – she herself admits, “I’m a stroke waiting to happen” – she’ll leave instructions with a friend to hang on to the lovers’ ashes until the ban on same-sex marriage is lifted in the state.
h/t: Gay Star News