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Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan died this morning of breast cancer. Morgan simultaneously fought a brave battle not only against her cancer, but against the Defense of Marriage Act and the impact it would have on her family in the event of her death.


The concern is, if something was to happen to me and I was to die within the next couple of years, my concern is that Karen would not be provided the same survivor benefits. [...] When you talk about the casualty notification, all those things that happen as far as being recognized — military funerals — all those things that Karen wouldn’t be able to coordinate because she wouldn’t be recognized as my spouse because of the Defense of Marriage Act. She would just be recognized as a friend.
On September 20th, 2011, the very day that Don't Ask Don't Tell ended, Morgan appeared on MSNBC to announce that she was a lesbian.
I'm finally proud to announce publicly that I am a lesbian. I'm able to now share my family. I have a four-year-old daughter but I also have a same-sex spouse. We have a civil union of almost 11 years and I have not been able until today to actually share my family. My complete family. I am able to put on my desk our family photo and actually share my family with the colleagues I deployed with.
Shortly after that appearance she became involved with OutServe SLDN, an advocacy group dedicated to ending the Defence of Marriage Act. She became a plaintiff in their lawsuit McLaughlin v. Panetta challenging DOMA and the disparity it presents to gay service members. Last February she went to Capital Hill to tell her story to John Boehner, providing a human face to the damage being done to real families due to this unjust law.

Executive Director of OutServe SLDN, Allyson Robinson, gave a statement on her passing.

Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan, a courageous fighter for our country, for her family, and for the equality of all who wear the uniform of our nation, passed away early this morning. On behalf of her wife Karen and daughter Casey Elena, we thank all those who have supported Charlie so fervently since she proudly came out on national television on the day 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' was repealed, and who have stayed by her side through her brave fight with cancer. She made an indelible mark on everyone she met with her integrity, her positive outlook, and her unflinching commitment to righting the wrongs visited upon gay and lesbian military families. The fight for full LGBT equality in this country is forever changed because Charlie Morgan took up the cause.
New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, at whose inauguration Morgan led the Pledge of Allegiance this past month, also released a statement in response to her death.
A dedicated soldier, wife and mother, her service and sacrifice exemplify what makes America and New Hampshire strong. Her fight for equality will outlive her fight against cancer. We can and should honor Charlie's legacy by continuing her fight to ensure that all families are treated equally by the State of New Hampshire and by the federal government. Our thoughts and prayers are with her wife Karen, her daughter Casey Elena, and all of her family and loved ones.
I stand with everyone who recognizes her remarkable courage and mourns the passing of this exemplary woman. My heart goes out to her wife Karen, daughter Casey Elena and the friends and family she leaves behind. An online site has been established where you may leave a message of condolence. Here is the link. She may have lost her battle with cancer, but her battle against the injustice of DOMA will go forward. We will win this for Charlie and for all of our brothers and sisters who serve our country.

Originally posted to Steven Payne on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:32 AM PST.

Also republished by Angry Gays, Milk Men And Women, LGBT Kos Community, and Monday Night Cancer Club.

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