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Dying Married Lesbian Service Member To Lead NH Gov. Inauguration

Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan of the New Hampshire National Guard is set to open the ceremony inaugurating soon-to-be Governor Maggie Hassan. Morgan will lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

CW2 Morgan has been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer, and her wife is barred from receiving any of the normal widow’s benefits upon her death. Those benefits would help care for their five year old daughter Casey Elena.

Army Veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson stated “Charlie Morgan is a national treasure and a treasure to her home state of New Hampshire. We could not be happier that Governor-elect Hassan has chosen to honor her work and her fight for equality in this way.”

OutServe-SLDN notes:

The Morgans are plaintiffs in a lawsuit brought by SLDN in October 2011 challenging DOMA and four 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.

CW2 Morgan also drew national support in February when she visited Capitol Hill to meet with the staff of Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) to tell her personal story and share how the Speaker’s ongoing legal defense of DOMA via the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) harms her family. There, she detailed her battle with incurable stage-four breast cancer and asked the Speaker to drop his legal defense of DOMA. Boehner has ignored her pleas and continues to defend the discriminatory law in court.

“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,” CW2 Morgan said at the time.

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