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Cancer-Stricken Lesbian Soldier Fights for Her Life, Family's Equality: VIDEO

Morgan

Here's a sobering and important video from Freedom to Marry and SLDN for their Freedom to Serve, Freedom to Marry campaign against DOMA featuring Charlie Morgan and her wife Karen.

You may remember Charlie. We've featured her story on Towleroad a number of times. In September 2011 she came out as a lesbian on MSNBC with Thomas Roberts as he covered the end of 'DADT'. She also went to Washington to meet with John Boehner's office to talk about the difficulties her family faces because of DOMA.

Now she's facing cancer.

Said Morgan today, in a press release: "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."

Should Morgan not survive her battle with breast cancer, her family, including their five-year-old daughter, Casey Elena, would not receive the survivors' benefits offered to married heterosexual veterans' families.

It's not just benefits. It's dignity as well. Should Morgan be given the military funeral that she is due, Karen would not be recognized as her spouse — she would just be recognized as a friend.

Watch Morgan tell her story, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. Andy:

    Thanks for helping to bring attention to this important story.

    Zeke

    Posted by: Zeke | Jul 18, 2012 12:02:42 PM


  2. This is why I think it's important for DOMA to be struck down by SCOTUS, instead of by Congress.

    If Charlie dies and later SCOTUS declares DOMA unconstitutional, her estate has a solid case to sue the government for the survivor benefits.

    If she dies and Congress subsequently ends DOMA legislatively, it could be argued that DOMA was the (constitutional) law when she died and now it's not the law, and her estate would have a far more shaky case.

    Posted by: Chuck | Jul 18, 2012 12:31:07 PM


  3. Beautiful couple. Awful yet powerful story. Firstly, I hope Charlie recovers as best as is possible from her cancer. However, this is yet another reminder of just how damaging and dehumanizing DOMA is. I also agree with Chuck regarding SCOTUS repealing DOMA being ideal and we can only hope it happens very soon, but that doesn't mean we don't continue putting pressure on our legislators to do the right thing.

    Posted by: Francis | Jul 18, 2012 1:30:55 PM


  4. BRAVA to them both. But, to clarify, Morgan's partner—or anyone else she chose to designate—would be eligible, under current law and regulations, for, e.g., Servicemembers Group Life Insurance and as a Thrift Savings Plan beneficiary because, even before repeal of the ban, they are “member-designated” benefits. That doesn't justify all of the benefits she and others are being denied, either because of DOMA or ARBITRARY internal Pentagon POLICIES that the President or Secretary of Defense could change with the stroke of a pen because Congress gave them that power, but let's not waste time fighting over specific territory that is not in dispute.

    But it boggles my mind that SLDN and Freedom to Marry imagine that trying to open Boehner's heart when he doesn't HAVE one or that petitions are going to make a difference. 30,000 signatures—or 300,000 signatures—have the proverbial snowball's chance in Hell of making a difference—and it's not just CW2 Morgan who doesn't have long enough to live for such worthless "tactics" to work. However well-intentioned all the parties, such naivete is both unbecoming—and a distraction from viable options such as direct action protest. Was Rosa Parks passing out petitions on that bus? Did ACT UP force the federal government to take AIDS seriously WITH PETITIONS????

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Jul 18, 2012 2:57:44 PM


  5. BRAVA to them both. But, to clarify, Morgan's partner—or anyone else she chose to designate—would be eligible, under current law and regulations, for, e.g., Servicemembers Group Life Insurance and as a Thrift Savings Plan beneficiary because, even before repeal of the ban, they are “member-designated” benefits. That doesn't justify all of the benefits she and others are being denied, either because of DOMA or ARBITRARY internal Pentagon POLICIES that the President or Secretary of Defense could change with the stroke of a pen because Congress gave them that power, but let's not waste time fighting over specific territory that is not in dispute.

    But it boggles my mind that SLDN and Freedom to Marry imagine that trying to open Boehner's heart when he doesn't HAVE one or that petitions are going to make a difference. 30,000 signatures—or 300,000 signatures—have the proverbial snowball's chance in Hell of making a difference—and it's not just CW2 Morgan who doesn't have long enough to live for such worthless "tactics" to work. However well-intentioned all the parties, such naivete is both unbecoming—and a distraction from viable options such as direct action protest. Was Rosa Parks passing out petitions on that bus? Did ACT UP force the federal government to take AIDS seriously WITH PETITIONS????

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Jul 18, 2012 2:57:45 PM


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