Charlie Morgan, Soldier Fighting For Equality In The Military, Succumbs To Cancer

charlie morganChief 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supported Charlie so fervently since she proudly came out on national television on the day ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was repealed, and who have stayed by her side through her brave fight with cancer.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National Guard, came out as a lesbian on MSNBC on September 20, 2011, the day “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was officially repealed.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.

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  • 1EqualityUSA

    It’s unconscionable that a member of the U.S. National Guard is treated with such inequality. Hopefully, after DOMA is repealed, the government will consider extending this person’s military benefits to her family. Thank you for fighting for equality, especially when your time was so limited. The harm done to us, our community, is made all the more significant by your having shared your story. I wish you and your family well. My heart aches for the betrayal you have endured at the hands of the Republicans. May they never taste power again for centuries.

  • Aidan8

    R.I.P Chief… and thank you for your courage and dedication. Peace to her wife and child.
    It’s an outrage that her wife and child are not eligible for survivor benefits. Hopefully that will soon be rectified.

    To all the Conservatives, Republicans, and Tea Party types out there who don’t believe in treating our LGBT-veterans and active service members equally, shame shame shame on you all. You are pathetic when compared to a person like Chief Morgan. Especially the chicken-hawks (Cheney, etc.) who never served themselves. All of you make me sick.

    Here’s a list of prominent Republicans who have never served or actively dodged the draft:

    P.S. I’m not saying only GOPers avoided or never served. But they are far far more likely to be hostile to treating LGBT service members and veterans equally. Oh they love throwing huge sums of cash at the military contractors… but gods forbid we allow a wife and child to collect meager survivor benefits.

  • Michael

    There are two causes for sadness here. The foremost is her passing, and we salute her service to her country and to her community. Another sadness is that, yet again, even in this hour, SLDN is inexplicably asserting that, because of DOMA, her wife Karen is not entitled to ANY survivor’s benefits which they know not to be true. Even if it’s nothing but sloppy writing, they will again be responsible for this hurtful myth being unwittingly perpetuated in ensuing report after report on Charlie’s passing.

    “Service members may freely designate any person, including a same-sex partner, for the following benefits:
    – Beneficiary of Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) payments
    – Receipt of unused contributions from Post Vietnam-Era Veterans Assistance Program (VEAP) and the Montgomery G.I. Bill Death Benefit, as long as the person is also designated as an SGLI beneficiary
    – Beneficiary of Thrift-Savings Plan (TSP)
    – Retirement annuity under the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), as long as the service member is not in an opposite-sex marriage and does not have a dependent child
    – Beneficiary for Death Gratuity and Beneficiary for Unpaid Pay/Allowances on DD Form 93”


    While it’s extremely hurtful, unjust and just plain WRONG the way the United States Government has treated LGBT service members and their families, right now it’s just plain SAD to have lost such a voice for equality that was giving her all to undoing these wrongs (and making progress). I’ll keep my undying dislike and criticism of John Boehner and his ilk at bay long enough to honor this true American and LGBT Hero. My sincere condolences and wishes for healing to those Charlie loved (and was loved by) that she left behind far too soon…

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