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Idaho Widow and Navy Vet Wins Right to Be Buried With Wife

Idaho Widow and Navy Vet Wins Right to Be Buried With Wife

Idaho Widow and Navy Vet Wins Right to Be Buried With Wife

Now that the state has marriage equality, Navy vet Madelynn 'Lee' Taylor has the right to a joint interment with her late wife, Nancy Mixner.

A Navy veteran who challenged Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage has won the right to be buried with her late wife.

State officials agreed to Madelynn “Lee” Taylor’s request after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found Idaho’s ban unconstitutional earlier this month, reports the National Center for Lesbian Rights. NCLR helped represent Taylor in her suit against the state after it rejected her request for the joint burial late last year.

Today Taylor, 74, went to the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery to make advance arrangements to have her ashes interred with those of her late wife, Jean Mixner. “Words can’t describe how incredibly grateful I am for all the work that went into making our wishes possible,” Taylor said in an NCLR press release. “Idaho is where some of our best memories together are and it’s where I want to spend eternity with Jean.”

The two women were married in 2008 in California, but Idaho did not recognize their marriage while its anti–marriage equality law was in force. Gov. Butch Otter is still appealing to the courts in hopes of reinstating the ban, but same-sex couples are now marrying in Idaho, and the state is respecting residents’ out-of-state marriages, like that of Taylor and Mixner.

“Today’s decision by Idaho state officials to allow Lee and Jean to be buried together corrects a serious indignity caused by Idaho’s former ban on marriage by same-sex couples,” said NCLR legal director Shannon Minter in the release. “Now that Idaho must respect all legally married couples, Lee and other same-sex spouses have the security of knowing that the state will treat their relationships equally throughout their lives and beyond.”

Added Deborah Ferguson, a Boise attorney who assisted with Taylor’s case: “Lee deserves credit for shining a powerful light on the injustice and indignity caused by Idaho’s former exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. Her persistence, visibility, and refusal to accept inequality are a model for us all.”

Watch a video about the case below.

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