Military burial for same-sex spouse

Feb. 14, 2013 at 2:55 PM

PORTLAND, Ore., Feb. 14 (UPI) -- A retired Air Force officer has been given permission to bury the ashes of her same-sex partner in a military cemetery in Oregon.

Nancy Lynchild, who died of cancer just before Christmas, will be the first homosexual military spouse to be buried in a national cemetery, The (Portland) Oregonian reported Thursday. Linda Campbell, 66, who retired as a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserves in 1994, said she and Lynchild will get what her parents did: burial in the same grave in Willamette National Cemetery.

Campbell, who enlisted in the Air Force after graduating from college in 1968, remembers having to hide her orientation during her years on active duty. Her parents rejected her when she first told them she was gay, although they later came to accept it.

"It's miraculous," Campbell said. "I never dreamed in my lifetime things would change."

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki approved the waiver in late January.

Lynchild and Campbell, who met while Campbell was working for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Portland, were married in British Columbia in 2010, several years after Lynchild was diagnosed with breast cancer. They had already registered as partners in Eugene, Ore., and as spouses in Multnomah County, during a brief period when the county legalized gay marriage.

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