A U.S. Navy veteran filed a civil rights lawsuit Monday after the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery refused to allow her to be buried with the ashes of her late wife. Seventy-four-year-old Madelynn Taylor filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Boise after she tried to make advance arrangements last year to have her ashes interred with Jean Mixner, whom she met on a blind date in 1995 and married in California in 2008 when gay marriage was briefly legal.
Though federal veterans cemeteries allow the spouses of gay veterans to be interred with their loved ones, Taylor said she was surprised to find the Idaho cemetery — which is owned and operated by the state — does not. Taylor's lawsuit contends that Idaho's anti-recognition laws violate the due process and equal protection guarantees of the U.S. Constitution.
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," said Craig Stoll, a senior attorney with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which is representing Taylor. Todd Dvorak, a spokesman for Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, said Wasden hasn't reviewed the lawsuit and couldn't comment on the case.
- The Associated Press