WASHINGTON – The government has cleared the first burial of a same-sex spouse of a veteran in a national cemetery, but it's uncertain how easy it will be for other gay military couples to win the same benefit.
In a statement, the Veterans Affairs Department says Secretary Eric Shinseki's decision to grant burial to a same-sex spouse in Oregon was not designed to set precedent. However, it represents a big departure from the past.
In 2008, the National Cemetery Association published a directive stating that individuals in same-sex civil unions or marriage are ineligible for burial in a national cemetery or state veterans cemetery that received federal money.
Retired Lt. Col. Linda Campbell subsequently pressed the VA to allow burial for her spouse, Nancy Lynchild.
Shinseki eventually agreed, citing their committed relationship.