N.H. Guardsman Urges House Republicans to Stop Defending DOMA
A New Hampshire guardsman with terminal cancer traveled to Capitol Hill on Thursday to urge House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to stop defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan, a member of the New Hampshire National Guard, met with Boehner policy advisor Katherine Haley. She handed Haley pictures of her wife Karen and their 4-year-old daughter as she pointed out that DOMA forbids the military from providing on-base housing, health care, burial rights, survivor and other spousal benefits to the same-sex partners of gay and lesbian servicemembers. Morgan and her mother received these benefits after her father died while in active duty in 1967.
"Those benefits clothed us, put food on the table and a roof over our heads," Morgan told EDGE immediately after the meeting. "I know from personal experience how important those benefits are."
Morgan also met with New Hampshire Congressman Frank Guinta while on Capitol Hill. A spokesperson for the first-term Republican declined to comment on the specifics of his meeting with Morgan because it was considered a "private conversation."
Morgan underwent a bilateral mastectomy and several rounds of chemotherapy in 2008 after doctors diagnosed her with breast cancer. Her oncologist declared her cancer free before she deployed to Kuwait, but doctors diagnosed Morgan with stage-four breast cancer last September after she returned to New Hampshire.
Morgan is among the eight gay and lesbian servicemembers and veterans who filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of DOMA in federal court last October. The Southern Poverty Law Center last week announced that it would file a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on behalf of a disabled California veteran whose applications for spousal benefits for her wife was denied.