Soldier dies of breast cancer, but her widow won’t get benefits
Posted by Andrea Stone
February 10, 2013
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.
“I’m praying that they take it up soon,” Morgan told me in a phone interview from her home in New Durham, N.H. a few days before Thanksgiving. “It’s my motivation for staying alive. I really need to be alive when they actually do overturn DOMA, otherwise Karen is not guaranteed anything.”
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