New Hampshire Gov. Hassan applauds the freedom to marry in inauguration speech

Yesterday, Maggie Hassan was inaugurated governor of New Hampshire. Gov. Hassan, a strong supporter of the freedom to marry, was elected on November 6, 2012. Her election, and the election of other NH officials who support marriage, meant that it would be easier to uphold the freedom to marry in New Hampshire - which was approved in 2009 and upheld in 2012 by the state legislature - if our opponents were to seek to overturn the state's commitment to fairness for all families.

Gov. Hassan spoke about the importance of New Hampshire's freedom to marry in her inauguration speech yesterday. She said (watch all of the marriage-related bits below, courtesy of Charlie Morgan):

Nearly four years ago, we led the way - without the force of court order - to marriage equality. Last year, I was on a plane when the man next to me struck up a conversation, asking  about my work and public service - including marriage equality.

It turns out that he was a recruiter for one of the biggest employers in New Hampshire. He said to me, 'Marriage equality is one of the best recruitment tools I have.' He said it wasn't because he was necessarily recruiting gay or lesbian individuals. It was because passing marriage equality in New Hampshire signaled to everyone the kind of welcoming state that we are.

And as has been true throughout our history, every time we bring more people in from the margins, into the heart and soul of our democracy, we get stronger. We believe in freedom and hte value of every person. It is our duty and our destiny to extend the same freedoms we enjoy to all of our people. 

Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan (pictured, left), who serves in the New Hampshire National Guard and lives with her wife Karen Morgan and daughter in Rye, NH, was honored at the Inaugural Ceremony by leading the Pledge of Allegiance. CW2 Morgan has been an outspoken supporter of the freedom to marry and opponent of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal respect for lawful marriages between same-sex couples. 

CW2 Morgan and her wife Karen are plaintiffs in a legal challenge to DOMA brought by OutServe-SLDN in October 2011. The couple has appeared several times in Freedom to Serve, Freedom to Marry, Freedom to Marry's joint public education effort with OutServe-SLDN. CW2 Morgan has been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer and even as she fights cancer, she has become a national voice fighting DOMA, which would restrict her wife from receiving military, Social Security, and other protections that Karen would need to take care of their five-year-old daughter, should Charlie pass away.

Allyson Robinson, Executive Director of Outserve-SLDN and Army veteran, celebrated CW2 Morgan's inclusion in Gov. Hassan's ceremony earlier this year. Robinson said:

Charlie Morgan is a national treasure and a treasure to her home state of New Hampshire. We could not be happier that Governor-elect Hassan has chosen to honor her work and her fight for equality in this way.

Freedom to Marry congratulates Gov. Hassan on her inauguration and applauds Charlie and Karen Morgan for their continued commitment to speaking out against DOMA and standing up for why marriage matters.