Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NH) introduced a bill in memory of the late Charlie Morgan, a soldier and national advocate for LGBT military equality who passed away last weekend after a long battle with cancer, that would equalize benefits and support for all military families.
The Charlie Morgan Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act of 2013 would act as a companion bill to the Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act of 2013 and would change the definition of “spouse” in four areas of U.S. Code related to recognition, support, and benefits for married service members and veterans.
Shaheen invoked Morgan’s memory as a powerful example of the need to end LGBT discrimination in the armed forces.
“Charlie served on the front lines for our country, but because of her sexual orientation her family is wrongfully being denied many of the same benefits given to those who stood beside her,” she said. “That is an unacceptable reality and I’m committed to doing all I can to make sure that no spouses, children and families are denied benefits they have earned and rightly deserve.”
OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson applauded the act, noting that the changes the bill makes to U.S. law would still be necessary even with the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, as they address entirely separate laws governing support and benefits for military members and veterans.
“This legislation is an important step forward in achieving full equality for all of our men and women serving and fighting for our nation,” said Gillibrand. “Same-sex partners of military servicemembers should not be denied essential benefits because of who they are. We must ensure that all of our military families who have sacrificed so much have access to the services and treatment they need and deserve.”