Navy Vet's Emotional Fight to Be Buried With Her Late Wife

Madelynn Taylor knew her late wife was "the one" the day they met -- on a blind date in 1995.

"We played gay trivia," Taylor told ABC News. "Believe it or not, that is a game out there."

The next morning, Taylor met Jean Mixner again for breakfast and they rode a horse-drawn carriage around Kansas City. But Taylor, 74, was only in the city for business and returned home to Nampa, Idaho. Still, she already knew she had met her future wife.

"We ran up about $600 in telephone bills between Idaho and Kansas City and then she sold her house down there and moved up to Nampa with me," said Taylor, a U.S. Navy veteran.

The couple spent their time at church, as gay rights activists and building their home together.

"We bought a 600 sq. foot house -- that's small," Taylor recalled. "So we knocked out the back wall and added 1,200 sq. feet to it. We spent our days hammering and nailing and putting up sheet rock and plastering."

Now Taylor spends her days fighting to be buried with Mixner, who died of respiratory failure in 2012. She filed a civil rights lawsuit Monday after an Idaho veterans cemetery denied her request to be buried with her late wife's ashes.

Federal veterans cemeteries allow people to be interred with their gay spouses, but the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, where Taylor filed her request, is run by the state, which does not recognize gay marriage.

Taylor and Mixner married in California in 2008.

When Mixner was diagnosed with emphysema, the couple made a plan that whoever died first would be cremated and then buried with the other.

"With our RV, we went to a lot of campgrounds, from the Jersey shore out to Arizona, New Mexico down to the South -- and we would see these old cemeteries," Taylor recalled. "They were overgrown with weeds and brush and we didn't want to end up like that."

That's why the pair chose to be buried at the veterans cemetery -- because they knew it would be well-maintained.

Idaho's attorney general hasn't yet reviewed Taylor's case and would not comment. Taylor's attorney, Christopher Stoll of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, maintains that her case is yet another example of state laws that "deny respect to the marriages of same-sex couples."

Taylor says she just wants to be buried with the love of her life -- an "absolute lady," she recalls.

"She would probably be egging me on. But in the background," Taylor said, explaining through tears that Mixner was always the quiet one.

"She taught me not to cuss every time I hit my thumb. She was a very gentle person," Taylor said.

"I taught her how to run an electric wire from point A to point B. And plumbing."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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