US: Idaho man donates cemetary plot, so lesbian veteran can be buried next to her wife

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An Idaho man has offered to give up his plot in a military cemetery, so that two lesbians barred from being interred together can still be buried side-by-side.

Last week, 74-year-old Navy veteran Madelynn Taylor was denied her request to eventually be buried in the Idaho Veterans’ Cemetary with wife Jean Mixner, who died in 2012.

Taylor had appealed to the Veterans’ Cemetary last year, but was told that because the cemetery is state-run, not nationally, the law would not allow the two to be buried as spouses.

Barry Johnson, a retired Army colonel who served in two wars across 27 years, told the Idaho Statesman he would be happy to give up his plot so both the women could both be buried in the cemetery.

He said: “Madelynn Taylor seems like one heck of a lady.

“She cared for another person with all her heart and had to watch that person die.

“She is a veteran. She loves her country.

“She wants her partner by her side and she wants to eternally rest among veterans in the state she made home.

“Madelynn, you deserve that.

“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 honour all the great Americans I’ve served with along the way – gay, straight, whatever.”

Taylor had said “I just feel that it’s the right place for me. You know, I’m a veteran. So they should let me… in fact they would let me alone, be in that crypt… But I don’t want to alone. I want Jean with me.”