Veterans like Lt. Col. Linda Campbell devote their lives to serving their country and keeping our communities safe. But when her partner Nancy passed away just before Christmas last year, Linda wasn’t able to bury Nancy in the Willamette National Cemetery – as other veterans are able to do for their spouses – because the federal government did not recognize their relationship.
Same-sex couples deserve to have their loving and committed relationships treated equally under the law. But the National Cemetery Administration still says same-sex partners – even married couples, like Linda and Nancy – are ineligible for burial in a national cemetery. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki has the authority to approve waivers to that rule as he sees fit.
By enduring a lengthy and uncertain process, Linda succeeded in getting a waiver and cleared the way for Nancy to be buried at Willamette National Cemetery. But it was the first time the Department of Veterans Affairs had allowed a same-sex partner to be buried in a national cemetery—and it took the leadership of U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian to make it happen. It is unacceptable to subject grieving veterans like Linda to a lengthy waiver process to be buried next to the person they love.
Help ensure no other veterans have to experience Linda’s struggle. Sign the petition to tell the Department of Veterans Affairs that loving and committed same-sex partners should be allowed to be buried next to each other in national cemeteries.
- Dept. of Veterans Affairs
Thank you for granting a waiver to Lieutenant Colonel Linda Campbell, so her spouse Nancy Lynchild can be laid to rest in Willamette National Cemetery. Please continue to grant waivers for same-sex spouses of military veterans, and implement an expedited waiver process, to provide peace of mind for veterans in mourning.
A veteran in mourning should not also have to worry about whether they and their spouse can be buried together in a national cemetery. Making this important change is a matter of basic fairness and equity.
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