Madelynn Taylor, a gay woman who served in the United States Navy, became embroiled in controversy when she sought permission to have the ashes of her spouse, Jean Mixner, buried with her in an Idaho state military cemetery. While veterans and their spouses can be interred in the cemetery, Mixner was denied the privilege -- because Idaho does not recognize gay marriages. A disappointed Taylor, who is 74 and ailing, says she's not surprised, having suffered discrimination all her life.
But what happened next is surprising -- in a good way.
Barry Johnson, a retired Army colonel, has offered to donate his place in the cemetery to the couple. Johnson is urging the state to "give Madelynn and Jean and others like them a break." No word yet on how state officials will respond to Johnson's offer, but we can only hope they'll heed his sensible, and humane, advice.