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Widow Of NH National Guard Soldier Details DOMA’s Impact

Karen Mogan

Karen Mogan

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is a law that was written by Bob Barr back in the 1990′s to restrict Federal recognition of same-sex marriages to just those between men and women. This was a reaction to the glut of states that were about to legalize same-sex marriage, after all, and has always been couched in terms of defending traditional marriages like the ones no one has actually had since 1982.

Freedom to Marry and OutServe-SLDN have released a video as part of their “Freedom to Serve, Freedom to Marry” series featuring Karen Morgan, the widow of Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan of the New Hampshire National Guard. CW2 Morgan succumbed to breast cancer earlier this year. Because of DOMA, Mrs. Morgan is unable to receive benefits associated with her marriage to CW2 Morgan like survivor’s benefits.

The video goes into the heart break of Mrs. Morgan as she has to grapple with the financial problems that she is facing as she has to raise the couple’s five-year-old daughter Casey Elena Morgan.

Mrs. Morgan stated “It’s hard for me, as a parent, to explain the situation to my daughter, because she has no language for discrimination. She knows and is aware that I am not able to have a military identification card, I can’t get onto base. I will see this fight against DOMA through to the end.”

Evan Wolfson, the founder and president of Freedom to Marry, stated “Though more and more states do the right thing by ending marriage discrimination, the federal government continues to treat widows like Karen Morgan as second-class citizens because of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. As gay and lesbian soldiers risk their lives for our country every day, this disrespectful treatment of military families is a stain on our nation’s honor. Karen should be able to work through her grief like any other military spouse – instead of facing the added stress of worrying how to pay the bills. It’s time for Congress to stand up for fairness and dignity for our military families by overturning the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and passing the Respect for Marriage Act.”

OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Reverend Allyson Robinson stated “Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan was a courageous fighter for our country, for her family, and for the equality of all who wear the uniform of our nation. Today, her wife Karen carries on that fight, a fight no military spouse should ever have to wage. The time has come to end the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and ensure equal recognition, benefits, and support for all loving and committed military couples and their families.”

The question will, of course, be if the Supreme Court rules in favor of repealing DOMA, will Mrs. Morgan be granted the survivor’s benefits that she deserves?

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