EUGENE, Ore. — A same-sex couple from Eugene is the first in the country to receive burial rights in a national cemetery.
Lt. Col. Linda Campbell’s parents received the honor of being buried in the Willamette National Cemetery in Portland. After spending 25 years in the Air Force, Campbell says she wanted the same honor for her and her partner Nancy Lynchild, who died of cancer in December 2012.
The couple was domestically partnered and married multiple times, but the federal government does not recognize their marriage. In addition, the Defense of Marriage Act does not allow for same-sex couples to be buried together in national cemeteries.
Once Campbell got in contact with labor commissioner Brad Avakian, she filed a request for her and Lynchild to be buried in the veterans’ cemetery.
“At the time I made the request, I actually felt guilty because I was making the request on behalf of Nancy and me, and I really felt like I should be making it on behalf of all the veterans and their loved ones who deserve this too,” Campbell said.
Campbell says she believes they are the first same-sex couple to request burial in a national cemetery. She hopes her opportunity will open the door for other same-sex couples.