Monday, April 28, 2014

Add The Words Demonstrators Take Case of Veteran's Spouse to Governor's Office

Posted By on Mon, Apr 28, 2014 at 2:20 PM

Add the Words demonstrators marched to the office of Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter to protest the state's refusal to honor the burial wishes of Navy veteran Madelynn Taylor.

Taylor, 74, served in the United States Navy from the late 1950s to the early 1960s. She met her late wife, Jean Mixner, on St. Patrick's Day in 1995, and they were married in Boardman, Ore., in 2008. Mixner died in April 2012. Traditionally, veterans' spouses are buried next to them in veterans cemeteries, but Idaho's constitutional ban on same-sex unions has literally blocked Mixner's burial at the gates of the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery.

Emily Shannon, one of the 17 Add the Words demonstrators to take up Taylor's cause in the hallway in front of the governor's office at the Idaho State Capitol, told Boise Weekly that the state's refusal to bury Mixner in the Idaho Veterans Cemetery demonstrates how legislation like Idaho's anti-gay marriage ban hurts Idahoans.

"There's so much harm and that's something [Taylor has] seen her whole life," Shannon said. "It sends the message that Idaho is OK with this kind of discrimination."

In response, the office of the governor released this statement:

"The veterans cemetery rules require a valid marriage certificate in order for a spouse to be buried with a veteran. Idaho's Constitution does not recognize same-sex marriage. The voters spoke in 2006 by passing an amendment to our Constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman. I am defending their decision and the Idaho Constitution in federal court, so I'm not going to comment any further."

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