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

Zagreb gay pride marchers call for same-sex couple rights

Over 2,000 people join gay pride parade through center of Croatian capital
No thumbnail available

Dog’s life saved after owner found out pet was intersex

Vets discover dog is intersex, and save her life when they discover her testicles could have become cancerous
No thumbnail available

A grown-up holiday in Australian paradise

Gareth Johnson pays a visit to the ultimate holiday destination in tropical Australia, where the only thing hotter than the local cafes and luxury hotels are the sultry, sandy beaches
No thumbnail available

12 things that prove Shakespeare was gay (or at least bisexual)

Was the Bard interested in men as well as women? From secret messages to love poems, we look at the possible arguments to the sexuality of William Shakespeare
No thumbnail available

Joel McHale doesn't mind being the object of a gay man's affections

'As long as the comments about my body are positive, I don’t mind'
No thumbnail available

Gay TV personality Andy Cohen refers to Russian President Putin as 'bastard'

Bravo's Watch What Happens Live host says his 'blood boils' whenever he sees Putin on TV
No thumbnail available

The Glass Closet: Why coming out is good for business

Written by John Browne, The Glass Closet explains why coming out is good for business - for both employees and their employers
No thumbnail available

Gay rights activist through to next stage of Indonesian human rights commission selection

Transgender candidate out, as list of candidates is down to 60
No thumbnail available

Elton John explains why he went to Russia to challenge anti-gay law

British pop legend has written an open letter to explain why he decided to go to Moscow and Kazan and speak out against the gay propaganda ban during his concerts
No thumbnail available

Jennifer Aniston gets Portia de Rossi to share what really bothers her about wife Ellen DeGeneres

'Every single night just as I serve her dinner, she gets up and feeds the cats'