News » Unda' the Rotunda

Idaho Says No (Part Two)

Governor C.L. 'Butch' Otter defends state denial of burial for Idaho vet, spouse

by

The response to Boise Weekly's reporting on Madelynn Taylor--and, yes, it was a Boise Weekly report; more on that a bit later--has been overwhelming. Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's response? Not so much.

Facing a stiff political challenge from the right wing of his own party in the upcoming May 20 GOP primary, Otter held tight to the Idaho Constitution April 28, when he referred to the state's blind eye to Taylor's marriage to Jean Mixner. In the shadow of her spouse's April 2012 death, Taylor, a 74-year-old Navy veteran, has asked for her ashes, along with her spouse's, to be interred at the state veterans cemetery, but has been denied (BW, News, "Malice Toward None, Charity For All," April 23, 2014.

"I'm not going to comment any further," said Otter, citing the state's current $1 million legal battle to defend its gay marriage ban.

But comments from people who have identified themselves from all political persuasions have poured in.

"I pray change comes before her time ends," Amber Cady wrote on boiseweekly.com.

"This is ludicrous," wrote veteran Jerry Branson.

"This woman did not, has not, and never lived a lie," wrote Crystal Petruska, another veteran.

And that's an important point. Some bloggers have jumped to the mistaken conclusion that Taylor lived "under the radar" in her years of service in the Navy, when in fact she answered truthfully, under oath, that she was gay, prompting her discharge. It took her 15 years to successfully appeal when the Navy, recognizing its error, fully restored Taylor's military benefits.

You may have seen Taylor's story in any one of a number of broadcasts and publications, many of which did not credit BW for the original story. True, a number of them picked up a phone and talked to Taylor and each of the other sources from BW's story; but make no mistake, they didn't do the heavy lifting on this one. Which was a bit stunning, considering how many of the same newsrooms get bent out of shape when their own stories are pilfered without attribution.

We're not saying that anyone cheated here, but they sure looked at our homework.