Nice Time: Idaho Veterans Cemetery Will Stop Discriminating Against Dead Gay Sailors
Remember the infuriating story about Madelynn Lee Taylor, the Navy veteran who wanted to reserve a spot in the Idaho Veterans Cemetery for her ashes, to be interred with the ashes of her late wife, Jean Mixner? The two had been together since 1995, and were legally married in California in 2008. Except Idaho wouldn't let Taylor reserve a niche in its "columbarium" for both herself and Mixner, who died in 2012, because Idaho didn't do marriage equality, and didn't recognize same-sex marriages from other states, either. Not even if the gay people were dead. How's that for protecting the sanctity of marriage?
Happily, Idaho has had the homo-hatin' slapped right out of it by the federal courts, at least on an official level, and that means that Taylor, who is in failing health, will not have to continue with her federal civil-rights lawsuit to get the simple dignity afforded to dead straight veterans and their spouses. On Friday, the director of the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery announced that Taylor would be able to reserve a space after all, so that her ashes and Mixner's ashes could spend eternity together, regardless of the potential affront to closed-minded jerk babies who are morally offended by the cohabitation of charred pulverized human bones. You'd think it wouldn't be such a big deal, considering how many ash holes there are in this state.
“Based on the current law at the time, the spouse was not eligible,” cemetery Director James Earp said today. “So therefore now with the change in decision based off the courts and the state, that is no longer the case. So we will continue on now with scheduling an interment process, once she is available to do so.”
We're really hoping that that last phrase refers to Ms. Taylor's availability to come down to the office and make the arrangements, but then, this is a cemetery director talking, so "once she is available" has some ominous connotations.
Taylor’s attorney, Deborah Ferguson, was part of the team who successfully challenged Idaho's constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriages, and she said that she's in talks with the Idaho Attorney General’s office to finish up Taylor's federal lawsuit against the state, which should be closed out sometime early next week.
“We’ll be talking about how to draw that to a close,” she said. Taylor is planning to go out to the cemetery to make arrangements next week, she said [...]
“I’m happy to see them comply and recognize Maddelyn’s marriage to Jean and her request for interment,” Ferguson said. “It’s wonderful.”
Congratulations, Ms. Taylor! It's inspiring to know that marriage equality arrived in our backwards little state in time for you to get justice. Here's hoping you won't need to make use of that reservation for a long time.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.