Lesbians and gays serving in the military are not treated equal to the other soldiers out there. While none of the dreaded predictions about the end of the world happening when Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed, there is still the battle over things like marriage rights. For Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan and her wife Karen, change cannot come fast enough as it is likely that CW2 Morgan will pass away from cancer before those changes occur. That is, unless those inequalities are reversed soon.
In a new video, CW2 Morgan states that “In 2008, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy and several rounds of chemotherapy to save my life. In 2010 – declared cancer free by my oncologist – I was deployed to Kuwait for one year in support of Operation New Dawn. I faithfully fulfilled my duty and returned home to my wife and our then four-year old daughter. But last September, we learned the awful truth that my cancer has returned. It is metastatic and incurable. We don’t know how long I have.”
Their daughter, Casey Elena, is now five.
Today, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and Feedom to Marry announced their intention to deliver a petition signed by some 30,000 supporters of the Respect for Marriage Act to Capitol Hill. It is unlikely that the Republicans will be willing to even take up the RFMA due to their reliance on homophobia and the Defense of Marriage Act in their political campaigning.
Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, stated “Many people think that our troops are serving freely and fairly alongside each other as a result of the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ but that is not the case. There is still a federal ban on treating married service members as what they are: married. The so-called Defense of Marriage Act continues to discriminate against gay and lesbian service members and their families, including the Morgans, by denying them the critical safety-net of protections and responsibilities that come only with marriage. It is time to do what’s right by our military families, end federal marriage discrimination, and give all married service members the same fairness, dignity, and respect.”
From 1789 until 1996, the federal government did not interfere with the rights of the states to determine what marriage is. A couple of laws were passed to regulate marriage in US territories and ban polygamy in said territories, but those laws never applied to the states.
According to both organizations “The Morgans are plaintiffs in a lawsuit brought by SLDN in October 2011 challenging DOMA and three other federal statutes that prevent the military from providing equal recognition and support to same-sex military spouses. Currently, the Morgans do not receive the same protections as their straight, married peers, and Karen would not be entitled to survivor’s benefits upon CW2 Morgan’s death.”
SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis stated “It’s unfathomable to me how anyone could look at the Morgan Family and not be moved by this wonderful family and see how they’re being treated unfairly. Here’s a service member, who has risked her life for our nation overseas and now is fighting for her life here at home. She shouldn’t be forced also to fight for her family to be recognized, respected, and provided the same support as any of her peers would receive. It’s time to end the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act and treat all service members as first-class Americans.”