• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 31s

Alaska military couple flies south to marry legally

By MJ Thim 4:25 PM August 17, 2013

DOD decides to extend benefits to all married couples

ANCHORAGE – A historic decision by the military gives equal rights to all married couples, gay and straight. The landmark move changes the way the military treats gay spouses.

There’s one catch.

The marriage needs to be legal in the eyes of the law. In Alaska, it’s not.

So Jen Theulen, with Alaska’s Air National Guard, and Nicole Carrier, a former Marine, are leaving Alaska and headed to Seattle to get married. Washington State is one of 13 states where it’s legal for a gay couple to get married.

It’s not the first time they exchanged vows. They got married last year in Girdwood. It was a family affair, but because it wasn’t legal, it didn’t give them the equal rights they so desperately wanted.

“If something happened to her and she went to the hospital, there was no way I could get on base,” Carrier said.

Soon, Carrier will be able to now that the military is extending full benefits to all legally married military couples. It’s still a shock for Carrier.

“I think I have to see the marriage certificate,” she said. “Once we get that certificate with both of our names on it, it will become real.”

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. This week, the military followed by extending benefits. Now, Theulen and Carrier will get benefits for things like health care and housing. They are quick to point out it goes deeper for them.

“Our motivation was to be like everyone else,” Theulen said.

“To be wife and wife,” Carrier said, “to be able to go out on a date night and it’s a date night as wife and wife. Celebrate an anniversary and it’s not just a will-you-be-my-girlfriend kind of anniversary. It’s ‘I made you my wife this day’ anniversary.”

Last year, Theulen and Carrier’s fellow service members nominated Carrier for spouse of the year in spite of the law.

“She actually got nominated for it and won,” Theulen said. “Then [the organizers] said you guys aren’t legally married or recognized as a married couple so maybe try it another time. We were on the website one day and we were off it the next.”

But after Sunday, they’ll be like any other married couple in the eyes of the law.

“We have our hard times too. We aren’t like perfect although we’d like people to believe we are,” Theulen said. “We’re just like any other couple. The only difference is that we are two women. I guess there is a biological difference but as far as socially and stuff … we are just like any other couple.”

The military says gay couples stationed where it’s illegal to marry, like Alaska, will be given ten days of leave to travel to one of the 13 states and get married.

Benefits are expected to kick in next month.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Kodiak mayor not pleased with plans for city’s DA position

    by Associated Press on Jul 25, 6:58

    KODIAK, Alaska (AP) – An Alaska city’s district attorney’s office is down its lead position, and officials say a replacement will not be hired. The Kodiak Daily Mirror reported Monday the Director of the Alaska Department of Law’s Criminal Division, John Skidmore, says instead of hiring another district attorney to replace former Kodiak District Attorney […]

  • Reports: Trump discussing firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions

    by CBS/AP on Jul 25, 6:38

    WASHINGTON — President Trump has spoken with advisers about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions as he continues to rage against Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the Russia investigation, according to reports. The president’s anger again bubbled into public view Monday as he referred to Sessions in a tweet as “beleaguered.” Privately, […]

  • Community mourns the loss of Bartlett sophomore

    by John Thompson on Jul 24, 22:59

    Tragedy struck the Hmong and Bartlett High School community last week, as 16-year-old Mlooglug Chervang succumbed to injuries related to a swimming accident.   The sophomore at Bartlett was a member of the football team and very involved in his school’s performing arts programs.   “He kinda represented what we want kids to be like […]

  • News

    Last baby orca born in captivity at SeaWorld park dies, company says

    by CBS News on Jul 24, 22:36

    ORLANDO, Fla. — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld’s former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company’s San Antonio park, SeaWorld said. Veterinarians were treating 3-month-old Kyara for an infection last weekend, but her health continued to decline, the Orlando-based company said in a news release. “Kyara had a tremendous impact on the entire zoological team, […]

  • Lifestyle

    The pressure is on Alaska’s senators ahead of Tuesday’s healthcare vote

    by Steffi Lee on Jul 24, 22:25

    Alaskans are continuing to pressure their senators to stand against overhauling the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and they also want them to vote “no” on Tuesday’s procedural vote to open debate on a healthcare reform bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing for a motion to proceed and Senate Republicans are trying to get […]

  • News

    How the SAP project went from $10 Million to $81.5 Million in 6 years

    by Daniella Rivera on Jul 24, 19:02

    It’s been called an expensive, monster of a project and it’s about to eat up another $5.8 million. That’s the amount Anchorage Assembly members will be asked to approve Tuesday night, to wrap up the controversial SAP software project that’s years overdue, and millions of taxpayer dollars over budget. When former Mayor Dan Sullivan proposed the […]

  • News

    Sales tax could double for some Mat-Su communities

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jul 24, 18:45

    No one likes to pay taxes, but people who live in the Mat-Su may find themselves paying a lot more if propositions for new sales taxes go through. The cities of Palmer, Houston and Wasilla already have city sales taxes but residents might also decide to pay a new tax proposed by the Mat-Su Borough. […]

  • Story Time with Aunt Phil: Alaska crude oil’s explosive discovery

    by Laurel Downing Bill on Jul 24, 18:04

    Richfield Oil Corporation found crude on the Kenai Peninsula this week in July 1957. That discovery helped Alaska on its way to statehood two years later, as Congress believed that Alaska would now be able to fund its own government. But that wasn’t the first time Alaskans had found oil. Alaska Natives used the black […]