Skip to main content

You really never know how you're going to find a personal connection to a story that, on the surface, doesn't seem to be related to you.

Besides this site, one of the places I most often go for news is Equality on Trial, a site originally called "Prop 8 Trial Tracker dot com" that was set up to cover the events surrounding California's anti-marriage-equality ballot measure on its way to the Supreme Court. It seems to function as a one-stop shop for issues of LGBT equality, a topic near and dear to me. One of the site's regular contributors is our own Scottie Thomaston, which means that its worth visiting just for a good read. But I digress.

Follow me past the orange scrunchy...

This morning's initial offering at Equality on Trial was a story that piqued my interest not for a really personal reason but because marriage equality is one of those issues near and dear to me. If you're familiar with my diaries you know that perhaps 90 percent of them them deal with such relationships in one form or another because I am, after all, a gay man.

The story in question involved the first ever successful attempt to have a same-sex spouse buried at a National Cemetery. I have never in any way been involved with the military and have never been involved with a veteran, though I certainly have had friends, gay and straight, who've served our nation. The question of who deserves to be buried in a National Cemetery is one that came up during the First District Massachusetts vs Department of Health and Human Services case in which the state of Massachusetts challenged DOMA on the basis that DHHS had threatened to withhold funds from the state for the maintenance of national cemeteries there if they consented to allow the same-sex spouses of veterans to be buried in those cemeteries.

Today's item covered the case of retired Air Force Lt Col Linda Campbell who lost her partner, Jean Lynchild, to breast cancer last year. The couple had married in Vancouver, Canada in 2010 (they'd also been married in Portland in 2004 when Multnomah County briefly decided to buck Oregon's mini-DOMA, but their marriage, like those performed in San Francisco that year and others performed in Portland during the same time period were voided by the state courts). Campbell fought and was assisted in her fight at both the state and national level with appeals to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki for the right to have her spouse buried with her in Willamatte National Cemetery. She was able to obtain a waiver for her request from the Secretary.

So what's the personal connection here?

She later worked for the Housing Authority of Portland and then the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department as a subdirector in the agency’s Portland branch.

Ms Campbell was a HUD employee. So am I. HUD currently has about 9,100 employees which, in the scheme of things, really isn't all that many. She was my colleague though we never met in person. So yes, there is a personal connection between me and the a former member of the military who happens to be a lesbian. It doesn't look like it on the surface but there it is.

Nobody should be denied the right to rest in peace by the side of the person they most loved in their lives. The fight for equality continues and we're all in it together. We're far more connected with "those others" than we ever think about.

Originally posted to sfbob on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 04:43 PM PST.

Also republished by Kossacks for Marriage Equality, Milk Men And Women, LGBT Kos Community, and Community Spotlight.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site