Last week (27 Dec.) New Hampshire Governor-Elect Maggie Hassan announced the details of her upcoming inaugural ceremony. Charlie Morgan, a chief warrant officer in the state's National Guard, will open the ceremony by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Morgan, and her wife, are two of the plaintiffs involved in a lawsuit against the Defense of Marriage Act.
'Charlie Morgan is a national treasure and a treasure to her home state of New Hampshire,' OutServe-SLDN executive director Allyson Robinson said in a statement. 'We could not be happier that Governor-elect Hassan has chosen to honor her work and her fight for equality in this way.'
OutServe-SLDN is a non-profit advocacy organization that works with LGBT military members, veterans and their families.
In 2008, Morgan was diagnosed with breast cancer. After undergoing a double mastectomy and rounds of therapy, she was cleared to serve. In 2010, Morgan did one year in Kuwait. However, when she returned it was discovered her cancer returned. It is now metastatic and incurable. The Concord Monitor reported Morgan's doctors have given her months to live.
Because of DOMA, a federal law, Morgan's spouse and four year old child will receive no survivor benefits. The statute, passed in 1996, prevents the US government from recognizing same-sex marriages even in states where such unions are legal (LGBT couples have been able to be married in New Hampshire since 2009). Couples also cannot file joint federal tax returns.
This past February Morgan took her case to the halls of Congress, specifically the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner. She asked him to stop defending the law in the courts. The Republican leadership is leading the DOMA appeals to the Supreme Court.