The Legal Stranger Project has released a video focusing on Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan and her wife Karen. CW2 Morgan has terminal breast cancer. She and her wife hae a daughter, Casey Elena, and are fighting for their equal rights as a married couple. The Morgan family has been hurt by the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.
CW2 Morgan’s family cannot receive survivors’ benefits because of DOMA despite the fact that she has been deployed to the Iraq, and even returned recently. Unfortunately, for Karen and Casey Elena, those benefits are needed should CW2 Morgan pass away.
According to Amanda Lucidon, the producer of the project, “Before I started the Legal Stranger Project almost three years ago, I was unaware of the 1,138 rights and benefits associated with marriage and the disparities encountered by same-sex couples under the Defense of Marriage Act. Charlie’s story, among others, reveals the complexity of DOMA and its effects on same-sex families.”
The Morgan family is represented by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network in a lawsuit seeking to dismantle DOMA and any other federal statue that prevents the military from recognizing same-sex military spouses.
CW2 Morgan stated “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 about a year ago, we learned the awful truth that my cancer has returned. It is metastatic and incurable. We don’t know how long I have.”
Army Veteran and 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 story 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.”