Senators urge VA secretary to speed waiver process for same-sex burials in national cemeteries

By MIKE FRANCIS | The Oregonian, Portland, Ore. | Published: March 6, 2013

PORTLAND, Ore. — A group of 16 senators sent a letter Tuesday to the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, urging him to accelerate the process for granting waivers for the burial of same-sex partners in national cemeteries.

The letter, signed by Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and 12 others, also commends Secretary Eric Shinseki for granting the nation's first such waiver in January to Linda Campbell, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel whose spouse, Nancy Lynchild, died in December. Their story was featured Feb. 17 in The Oregonian Feb. 14 on OregonLive.

"Offering burial rights in national cemeteries to same-sex spouses of our nation's veterans is not only a matter of fairness and equity, it is simply the right thing to do," the letter says, in part.

Arlington National Cemetery.


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