Mark Ketterson’s husband John Fliszar passed away in July. Mr. Fliszar was a veteran of the Navy and served two terms in Viet Nam. He’d loved the Naval Academy and had told his husband that when he died he wanted to be interred there. Mr. Ketterson contacted the Academy to arrange for it, and once it was established that he was indeed Mr. Fliszar’s legal husband, everything went smoothly, no different from how it would’ve been if they’d been a heterosexual couple.
Ketterson sent a copy of the marriage license. That changed everything.
“I was respected,” he said. “From that moment on, I was next of kin. They were amazing.”
Which is how it should be. Props to the Navy for having its act together and doing the right thing every step of the way. Hopefully some day soon there won’t be any need to praise a person or institution for doing what’s right regarding GLBT people, but for now I think positive reinforcement is still called for.
This is also a major reason why we need legal gay marriage throughout the country, not just here and there in a handful of states. The devoted life partner of a veteran — or a civilian for that matter — should always receive this kind of respect, not just an occasional few.