U.S. Navy veteran, Madelynn Lee Taylor, has been given permission to be buried with the ashes of her late gay partner after the state legalized gay marriage. Her request to have her ashes interred with Jean Mixner was previously denied because of Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Taylor can now be buried with Mixner, who died in 2012, at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery in Boise, which is owned and operated by the state.
“It’s done,” 74-year-old Taylor said after successfully completing paperwork to be buried with Mixner. She had previously filed a lawsuit in federal court but now that case is expected to be dismissed.
On October 15, same-sex marriage became legal in Idaho, when the ban was lifted by courts that determined it was unconstitutional.
“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 attorney Deborah Ferguson said. “Her persistence, visibility and refusal to accept inequality are a model for us all.”
Cemetery Director James Earp welcomed Taylor, who has serious heart and lung problems and needs assistance getting around. He assisted her with the paperwork and congratulated her with a handshake when it was done.
FOX News reported that Taylor and Mixner met on a blind date in 1995. In 2008, they married in California when gay marriage was briefly legal in the state.
When Mixner got emphysema, she and Taylor made a promise to each other that whoever died first would be cremated and later buried with the other.
The two wanted to be buried at the veterans’ cemetery in Idaho because they knew it was well maintained and close to their families. They decided on cremation and interment in a wall so their names and spot would not get overgrown with weeds or grass.
“It’s a good day! We get to get Jean out of the closet!” Taylor joked after completing the paperwork. “She’s dancing.”