Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan, who fought tirelessly for equality for LGBT servicemembers and the repeal of DOMA, passed away this weekend after a long struggle against breast cancer.
Allyson Robinson, Executive Director of OutServe-SLDN issued the following statement:
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supported Charlie so fervently since she proudly came out on national television on the day ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was repealed, and who have stayed by her side through her brave fight with cancer.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.”
Morgan, a member of the New Hampshire National Guard, came out as a lesbian on MSNBC on September 20, 2011, the day “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was officially repealed. Since then, despite failing health, she worked to educate Congress about the harm caused by the Defense of Marriage Act. The Morgans are plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging DOMA, and Morgan went to Washington to speak to Speaker John Boehner about his ongoing legal defense of the odious act.
Morgan was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 and underwent a double mastectomy and several rounds of chemotherapy. In 2010, with the cancer in remission, she was deployed to Kuwait as part of Operation New Dawn. I faithfully fulfilled my duty and returned home to my wife and our then four-year old daughter. Tragically, the cancer returned in 2011, and doctors told Morgan it was incurable.
Because Morgan and her wife are not recognized as a married couple, Karen cannot receive military, Social Security and other benefits to help her care for Casey Elena, who is 5.
Friends, family, and supporters are encouraged to leave remembrances on the memorial site, Remembering Charlie Morgan.