As the Pentagon reportedly prepares to offer some benefits to same-sex couples in the military, this article shows both why such benefits are important and why the Defense of Marriage Act needs to be eliminated, either by Congressional repeal or judicial overturning.
Charlie Morgan didn’t get her last wish.
On Sunday morning, the New Hampshire National Guard soldier succumbed to Stage IV breast cancer after a long battle against the disease and a federal law that now leaves her widow with none of the benefits a grateful nation bestows on its straight warriors.
As I wrote here on Thanksgiving, Morgan, who came out as a lesbian on MSNBC in September 2011, the day the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy became history, hoped she would outlive the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The Clinton-era law forbids Karen, her legally married wife, from receiving the survivor benefits other military widows get.
That money would have gone a long way toward helping raise their young daughter Casey. Just like the death benefits Charlie’s mother got when her soldier husband died in an accident during the Vietnam War went to pay for food and a roof for young Charlie.
These issues aren’t abstracts, they affect real people in very important ways. And this military widow should be treated no differently than any other.