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Lynchild died of cancer in Eugene three days before Christmas. It followed a monthslong campaign by Campbell, encouraged and supported by Bureau of Labor and Industries Commissioner Brad Avakian and Sen. It is the latest signal that the military -- and the nation -- is changing the way it views same-sex relationships.A self-described lifelong "rule follower," Campbell is overjoyed that she and Lynchild will have their ashes buried together at Willamette.
While aware of her "inner nature," she said, "I knew it wasn't acceptable."I never dreamed in my lifetime things would change." Yet the military isn't yet blind to sexual orientation. Her face lights up when talking about Rosenbaum, who died of kidney cancer in 2010, because he was an exception to the military rule. It happened when she summoned up the nerve to ask him, after he'd invited her to another party, how he would feel if he were invited to an event and asked to bring a woman who wasn't his wife. "Well, for heaven's sake," Rosenbaum replied, "bring her." Campbell did, and they were greeted warmly at the door by Jane Rosenbaum, Fred's wife. Campbell followed him into that career, first in Portland, then to the U. Housing and Urban Development Department, where she was a subdirector in the Portland office.Still to be settled, Panetta wrote in his memorandum, are thornier, more complex issues that remain restricted by the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law that defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. She was in another committed relationship with a partner who was "beautiful, smart and my family loved her." Together, they decided to become parents, and her partner gave birth to a boy named Brady.She had left her station in the Bay Area to visit her partner in Portland and happened to be there when her parents called to ask if she knew where Linda was.Linda and her partner locked eyes and the woman said she didn't. Her father, a staff sergeant in World War II, announced that he no longer had a daughter.And Tuesday night, Tracey Hepner, the same-sex wife of Army Brig. Tammy Smith, was a guest of Michelle Obama during the State of the Union speech.
"It's miraculous," Campbell said, recalling the way she tiptoed around the use of pronouns, dragged male friends to military functions and, generally, hid her nature from people she worked with. She acknowledged she was and that she had a partner. Rosenbaum chaired the Housing Authority of Portland, the agency that provided housing to low-income and at-risk Portlanders.It took two decades for the implementation of the awkward Clinton-era compromise policy of "don't ask, don't tell," which sought to ignore the issue of sexual identity.A lame-duck Congress rescinded that policy in December 2010, allowing gay men and women to serve openly in the military for the first time.She had developed a tight social network of like-minded young women before entering the Air Force, but otherwise didn't talk about intimate things.The Air Force, in those days, was not a welcoming place for women, she said, much less gay women.It was the moment Linda decided to stop lying to her parents. Her mother told her, "I just wish you hadn't told us." It was 1972.