The New Hampshire National Guard is letting Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan bring her wife, Karen Morgan, to a mandatory yellow-ribbon event in North Conway this weekend. This comes after the intervention of New Hampshire US Senator Jeanne Shaheen. Shaheen intervened because the program is mandatory and it is suppose to help returning soldiers and their families transition back into life in the civilian world.
This came up after the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and raises questions with regards to the damage being done by the Defense of Marriage Act. Morgan said that the local Guard officials had said that they were hamstrung by federal regulations. Shaheen asked Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to get involved.
Sheheen stated that “I think it’s terrific that it’s turned out positively. I think it’s another step along the way to make sure everybody is treated fairly and equally.”
According to the Union Leader, Morgan was unavailable for comment. They also stated that:
Shaheen said the decision to exclude same-sex couples from the yellow ribbon event was based on the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the extension of military benefits to same-sex couples, and on federal military regulations interpreting that law. Shaheen’s letter to Panetta asked him to do all he can under the confines of the law to make same-sex couples and their families eligible for family centered programs like this weekend’s event, and other family benefits available to straight married couples, such as joint duty assignments and military family housing.
Apparently, the reason why the ruling was reversed had to do with the fact that there was language about the soldier bringing one person of their own choosing. Shaheen stated that “The fact is, she shouldn’t have needed a special waiver and shouldn’t have needed to raise this issue in the first place. We need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act in order to address all of the issue to make sure everybody is treated fairly.”