February 15, 2013

Lesbian Veteran Permitted To Bury Life Partner In National Cemetary

United States Air Force Airman with a US flag at a military funeral

Willamette, Oregon --- The US Department of Veteran Affairs has granted permission to a lesbian Air Force veteran that allows her to bury her non-military life partner in an Oregon national cemetary.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki notified Lt. Col. Linda Campbell, (USAF ret.) that her partner Nancy Lynchild, could be interred at Willamette National Cemetery. Lynchild died of cancer in December 2012.

According to CNN:

"I am deeply grateful to my country for honoring and respecting my years of service and my relationship with Nancy, the love of my life," said retired Lt. Col. Linda Campbell, a veteran.
"Willamette National Cemetery is a beautiful, peaceful place. Knowing that Nancy and I can join my parents on that hallowed ground is a source of great comfort and healing," she said.
The Department of Veteran Affairs released a statement regarding the decision.
"This was the first non-Veteran partner of the same gender he was asked to consider, this is the first he has approved. It's important to note that the Secretary did not base his decision on the individual's marital status or state recognized relationship status, but rather based it, in part, on evidence of a committed relationship between the individual and the Veteran."
Secretary Shinseki’s decision does not apply to anyone other than Campbell and Lynchild, so unfortunately there hasn’t been a change in government policy. Nevertheless, it is believed that this is the first time that burial rights were extended to a same-sex couple.


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