Last week, outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta extended a number of military benefits to same-sex spouses of enlisted service members, but the change didn't come soon enough for the wife and daughter of Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan, an active-duty lesbian member of the New Hampshire National Guard. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, undergoing a double mastectomy and chemotherapy before embarking on another tour of duty, Morgan's cancer resurfaced aggressively last year. She frequently said that she hoped to outlive the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, so that her family could receive the benefits readily offered to the families of straight soldiers.
Morgan died on Sunday, at just 48 years old. And according to the Washington Post, neither her (legally married) wife Karen, nor their five-year-old daughter, Casey Elena, will be eligible to receive pension or survivor benefits that Morgan earned by courageously serving her country.
Find out what's standing in the way below, in Rachel Maddow's two-part segment about Chief Warrant Officer Morgan in lasst night's edition of The Rachel Maddow Show.