You may recall the diary posted by Hunter last week about the lesbian veteran who was denied the right to be buried with her deceased spouse at the Idaho Veterans Cemetary. Retired Navy veteran Madelynn Taylor, 74, was discharged from the military after six years of service after her superiors were told that she was gay. Taylor's spouse, Jean Mixner, died in 1995 and as Taylor was making plans for her rightful burial in the veterans cemetary, she was told by the cemetery authorities that the ashes of the woman she loved would not be welcomed to join her.
The cruelty displayed against Taylor was staggering. There was absolutely no reason to deny her request other than outright bigotry and hatred. Not even the sacrifice of serving your country trumps the unfathomable hate that some people harbor for gay people.
Madelynn Taylor has earned the right to be buried at the Idaho Veterans Cemetery because of her six years of service in the Navy. But her now-deceased wife can't join her because state law doesn't recognize their marriage, CBS affiliate KBOI reports.This display of heartlessness did not go unnoticed by fellow veteran U.S. Army Col. Barry Johnson (ret.). In an open letter to the Idaho Statesman yesterday, Johnson took the Idaho Veterans Cemetery to task for their malice and then generously offered up his own plot in the cemetery to Taylor and Mixner.
"I'm not surprised," Taylor told the station. "I've been discriminated against for 70 years, and they might as well discriminate against me in death as well as life."
To say that the story of Navy veteran Madelynn Taylor's fight to share a resting place in Idaho's Veterans Cemetery with her lesbian partner is disheartening would be an understatement. Actually, the right word escapes me. I suppose I'm just tired of all the hoo-hah over something this ridiculous.There is no word yet from the Idaho Veterans Cemetery whether this touching display of kindness would be honored and the couple be allowed to be laid to rest together. Given the complete callousness of the people behind the original decision, it would not come as a surprise if they denied the offer. However, they will never be able to rob Madelynn Taylor of the dignity and humanity that was shown by Col. Barry Johnson.
I honestly couldn't care less if somebody is gay, or "straight" for that matter, just as I couldn't care less about somebody's anti-LGBT views. People seem to want you to be uptight one way or another about it, and I am content to simply respect somebody's differences without a lot of fuss as long as there's no harm done.
Unfortunately, harm often is done, though, to people like Madelynn, and then I do care.
As a lifelong Idahoan and a 27-year Army veteran of two wars, I've worked beside heterosexuals, gays, lesbians and bisexuals. I've really never wanted to hear about anybody's sex life or sexual preferences, one way or another. Besides, everybody more or less knew who is who regardless, and I don't recall anybody in the military ever saying a thing about it. Never.
Give Madelynn and Jean and others like them a break. Stop finding reasons to make life - and in this case, death - harder than it needs to be.