EUGENE, Ore. -- For Linda and Nancy, the path to wedded bliss was all but traditional. Domestically partnered in Eugene ... the couple tried to tie the knot in 3 states before making it official in Canada.
"There we were, on the top of the world. With these 3 Canadians who had instantly become our friends," said Campbell.
Campbell said that while their marriage marked one of the happiest days in her life, she couldn’t help but cry after exchanging vows.
Nancy had breast cancer, and her dying wish was to be buried next to her spouse – something that Linda knew was a far off dream.
The Defense of Marriage Act makes it so couples in same-sex civil unions or marriages aren’t defined as spouses, which is reserved for a person of the opposite sex (husband or wife).
Such a definition prevented Linda – who served a combined 25 years in the military - from being laid to rest next to her spouse in the Willamette National Cemetery in Portland.
"In the end they pronounced us married. Not husband and wife, or wife and wife," Linda said.
It was then that Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian and State Senator Jeff Merkley wrote the veterans affairs department.
“It never donned on us that we could be like a other people,” said Campbell. “Its just so different than the world I grew up in and the world I served while I was in the military."
After hearing their case, VA Secretary Eric Shinsekiu made an exception to the defense of marriage act, approving the first same-sex couple to be buried together in a national cemetery.
Linda got the news a month after Nancy died.
“She died here and ... I don't want to leave this house. Its ours," Campbell said.
Linda had planned on moving to Portland to be closer to family after her spouse’s death. Now, as fate would have it, she'll be closer to Nancy, too.