SHAHEEN SAYS GAY SOLDIER’S FAMILY ALLOWED TO ATTEND CONWAY EVENT

by Christian Mower on October 20, 2011

U.S. SENATOR JEANNE SHAHEEN SAYS THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE HAS CLARIFIED REGULATIONS THAT WILL ALLOW CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER CHARLIE MORGAN OF THE NEW HAMPSHIRE NATIONAL GUARD TO ATTEND A YELLOW RIBBON REINTEGRATION EVENT IN NORTH CONWAY THIS WEEKEND.

MORGAN IS A LESBIAN AND WHO EXPRESSED CONCERNS SHE MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO BRING HER PARTNER OF 11 YEARS TO THE EVENT.

SHAHEEN SAYS SHE’S PLEASED MORGAN HAD THE COURAGE TO SPEAK OUT AND THAT THE NATIONAL GUARD WAS ABLE TO WORK WITH THE SENATOR’S OFFICE TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE.

SHAHEEN WROTE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LEON PANETTA ASKING HIM TO END THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT’S DISCRIMINATORY POLICY THAT BANS SAME SEX SPOUSES OF RETURNING NATIONAL GUARD MEMBERS FROM PARTICIPATING IN OFFICIAL GUARD FAMILY EVENTS.

CONGRESS VOTED LATE LAST YEAR TO REPEAL THE “DON’T ASK DON’T TELL” POLICY THAT PREVENTED GAY AND LESBIAN MILITARY MEMBERS FROM DISCLOSING THEIR SEXUAL ORIENTATION.

SHAHEEN SAYS THE GUARD AND DEFENSE DEPARTMENT SAID WEDNESDAY GAY AND LESBIAN SERVICE MEMBERS CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF A REGULATION THAT ALLOWS SERVICE MEMBERS TO DESIGNATE ANY ONE PERSON, REGARDLESS OF RELATIONSHIP, TO JOIN THEM AT A YELLOW RIBBON EVENT.

MORGAN RECENTLY RETURNED FROM DEPLOYMENT TO KUWAIT – AS PART OF THE LARGEST DEPLOYMENT OF NEW HAMPSHIRE NATIONAL GUARD MEMBERS SINCE WORLD WAR TWO – AND SHE IS LEGALLY JOINED IN A CIVIL UNION WITH HER PARTNER, KAREN MORGAN.

SHAHEEN SAYS THE WEEKEND EVENT IN NORTH CONWAY IS PART OF AN OFFICIAL PROGRAM DESIGNED TO HELP RETURNING SOLDIERS AND THEIR FAMILIES DEAL WITH THE TRANSITION TO LIFE BACK HOME.

IT’S NOT CLEAR EXACTLY WHEN OR WHERE THE EVENT IS BEING HELD. AN EMAIL MESSAGE TO THE GUARD REQUESTING MORE INFORMATION WAS NOT RETURNED.