Gay Navy Veteran Told She Cannot Be Buried Alongside Her Spouse

“I don’t see where the ashes of a couple of old lesbians is going to hurt anybody,” says 74-year-old Madelynn Taylor.

1. 74-year-old U.S. Navy veteran Madelynn Taylor’s request to be laid to rest with her wife has been denied by a Veterans Cemetery in Boise, Idaho.


2. The Division of Veterans Services is reportedly denying access for her now-deceased wife’s ashes to be laid to rest in a shared plot.

The pair’s ashes would fit in one spot on the wall, not taking up any more space than usual.

3. “I’m not surprised. I’ve been discriminated against for 70 years, and they might as well discriminate against me in death as well as life,” Taylor said.

4. A spokesperson with the Division of Veterans Services told KBOI they are forced to “abide by the Idaho state constitution” which only legally recognizes marriage between a man and woman.

5. Taylor served six years in the service and was married to her spouse, Jean Mixer, for 17 years before she passed in 2012. The pair were legally married in California in 2008.

6. “It’s not taking up any more space to have both of us in there, and I don’t see where the ashes of a couple of old lesbians is going to hurt anybody,” she said.

7. Taylor has made it clear she won’t be buried anywhere but her hometown of Boise and is prepared to continue pushing for her right to rest alongside her wife.

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Sarah Karlan is the associate LGBT editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Sarah Karlan at


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