New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen took to the senate floor on Friday (15 February) to give a moving tribute to Charlie Morgan, a national guardsman died last week of breast cancer and had been working hard to ensure that same-sex partner receive survivors benefits.
‘I hope that Charlie Morgan knew how many lives she touched and how greatly we admired her efforts,’ Shaheen said. ‘I know that she will be sorely missed and that her example will continue to guide us well into the future.’
Shaheen told her senate colleagues that she met Morgan in 2011. Morgan had contacted her office after serving for a year in Kuwait and finding out that her spouse would be unable to attend a transition program known as National Guard Yellow Ribbon Reintegration. Shaheen worked with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to ensure Morgan’s family could participate.
Earlier this week, Panetta announced that gay and lesbian military personnel and their families will begin receiving an extended array of benefits by this fall including such things as identification cards, joint duty assignments, exemption from hostile fire areas, emergency leave, child care, legal assistance, commissary privileges, and morale, welfare, and recreation programs.
Shaheen wants to take things a step further and announced that she will be introducing ‘The Charlie Morgan Act’ which would end a number of restrictions of benefits of legally married service members and veterans regardless of their sexual orientation.
‘Every individual that provides for our defense deserves the peace of mind that comes with knowing that one’s family will be taken care of should the worst happen,’ Shaheen said. ‘No one should ever have to go through what Charlie and her family had to go through.’