Add the 4 Words says gay veteran should be buried with wife

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- Add the Four Words protestors are asking Governor Butch Otter to make an exception for a veteran who wants to be buried with her wife in the Idaho Veterans Cemetery.

Madelynn, or Lee, Taylor is a Navy vet who married her late wife, Jean Mixner, in California in 2008. Taylor wants their ashes laid to rest together in the state's Veterans Cemetery, but because state law doesn't recognize gay marriage, the cemetery won't allow it.

Members of Add the Four Words stood in front of the statehouse Monday afternoon asking Governor Otter to recognize the sacrifice of gay veterans' service by allowing Taylor and her late wife's ashes to be laid to rest together in the Veterans Cemetary.

"There are countless gay, lesbian and transgender people that serve in the U.S. military," said Ty Carson, a veteran who is also gay. "They're equally as gifted and give as much to their country as their straight counterparts."

After demonstrating in front of the Capitol, the group went inside and silently protested in front of the Governor's office. A representative from Otter's office came out and handed out a statement. It was the same statement KBOI received last Thursday. It reads:

"The veteran's 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."

Carson says he has a hard time accepting the Governor's statement and will continue to fight for Taylor's burial rights.

"It's wrong to stand behind hurtful legislative decisions and rules and regulations that are discriminatory," Carson said.