A day after New Hampshire Senator
Jeanne Shaheen intervened, the state's National Guard has reversed
its decision forbidding Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan from
including her wife, Karen Morgan, in an upcoming event, the Union
The yellow-ribbon event in North Conway
this weekend is designed to assist returning soldiers and their
families deal with the transition to civilian life.
New Hampshire is among the six states
where gay and lesbian couples may legally marry.
Officials made their decision after the
Pentagon ended “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the policy which banned
gay and bisexual soldiers from serving openly.
Shaheen raised concerns about the
ruling in a letter sent Tuesday to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
According to Shaheen, the National
Guard made its decision based on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA),
the 1996 law which bars federal agencies and the military from
recognizing the legal marriages of gay couples. But guardsmen are
allowed to bring any one person of their choosing to the event.
“The fact is, she shouldn't have
needed a special waiver and shouldn't have needed to raise the issue
in the first place,” Shaheen said. “We need to repeal the
Defense of Marriage Act in order to address all of the issue to make
sure everybody is treated fairly.”
Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), praised Shaheen for her
“At SLDN, we salute Senator Shaheen
for her efforts, but the truth is that this service member should not
have had to call on her senator to intervene at the Pentagon in order
for her family to be recognized and supported in the same ways as her
straight, married counterparts.”
“We again call upon Secretary Panetta
to confer now all the benefits and recognition he is authorized to
extend to gay and lesbian service members and their families,” he
marriage in the military? SLDN prepares for next fight.)