First same-sex spouse of a US veteran approved for military burial

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs has approved the first same-sex partner of a US veteran for burial in a national cemetery

First same-sex spouse of a US veteran approved for military burial
17 February 2013

Oregon woman Nancy Lynchild has become the first same-sex spouse of a US veteran to be approved for burial in a US national military cemetery.

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Linda Campbell petitioned the US Department of Veterans Affairs with help from officials in their home state of Oregon following Lynchild’s death.

‘My commitment to our country, shown through the service that makes me eligible for burial at Willamette [National Cemetery], and the significance of the permanent, lifelong commitment I shared with Nancy, should be sufficient to secure a waiver for her and allow us to be buried together,’ Campbell wrote to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs in January.

In 2008 the US National Cemetery Association under the then Bush Administration issued a directive formally barring same-sex spouses from being buried in military cemeteries along with their veteran partners in line with the Defense of Marriage Act barring federal recognition of same-sex couples.

However that law is currently being challenged in the US Supreme Court and the Obama Administration has refused to defend the law.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki decided to grant Campbell’s petition but the decision does not constitute an official change in policy and further applications for a waiver will be decided case-by-case.

A statement by the Department of Veterans Affairs said that the decision did not recognize the couple’s marital status but merely evidence of a ‘committed relationship between the individual and the veteran.’

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian wrote to the Department of Veterans Affairs and the White House on behalf of Campbell, noting that Oregon state law required equal access to goods and services for registered domestic partners.

The White House replied that it would allow the Department of Domestic Affairs to decide the matter for itself.

Avakian told Fox News that the decision was an important precedent.

‘I don’t think there’s any way to get around the fact that is a precedent-setting strong message,’ Avakian said.

‘I’m deeply grateful they spent the time thinking this through carefully and coming to the right conclusion.’

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Italian 'gays are insane' insult party asks for votes on Grindr

Lega Nord party, famous for its homophobic stance, is asking gay men to vote for its leader Roberto Maroni, who is running for the presidency of Lombardy
No thumbnail available

Bologna's new law means you're better off dead

The Italian city's council has passed a new local law allowing same-sex couples to decide their after-death destiny
No thumbnail available

Robin Williams’ funeral to be picketed by 'God Hates Fags' church

Westboro Baptist Church has threatened to picket the funeral of the late actor, saying he was a 'fag enabler'
No thumbnail available

Liberal Lord Mayor of Melbourne says let gays marry in Australia

Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, a leading figure in the Australian Liberal Party, says gays should be allowed to marry and has warned against criticizing other people’s family arrangements
No thumbnail available

Pakistan trans activists protest against US drone strikes

The transgender community in Sukkur, Pakistan has protested against US drone strikes claiming they are counterproductive and kill innocent people
No thumbnail available

Canada porn star pleads not guilty to murder

Luka Magnotta dismembered his Chinese boyfriend and sent his limbs to political parties and elementary schools
No thumbnail available

John Travolta faces new gay-related lawsuit

Author of book about gay bathhouse culture accuses the actor and his attorney of libel
No thumbnail available

Bid to rename NYC street for cop who came out in 1981

A group of gay NYPD police officers have called for a Greenwich Village street to be renamed in honor of Chares Cochrane – the cop who came out publicly in 1981 to speak for LGBT rights and founded the Gay Officers Action League
No thumbnail available

March for LGBTI pride in Manila, Philippines on Saturday

The 19th Manila Metro Lesbian Gay Bisexual, Transgender & Queer Pride March will wind its way through the Philippines capital in two days time, in the longest running celebration of its kind in Asia
No thumbnail available

Catholics deliver one million anti-gay marriage postcards

Archbishop of Southwark Peter Smith asked parishioners to mail their anti-gay views to parliament