• 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

  • Politics

    Panel pitches plan to eliminate cashable oil tax credits

    by Associated Press on Apr 24, 21:51

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – An Alaska Senate committee has proposed eliminating cash credits for oil and gas companies that lawmakers have increasingly come to see as unaffordable. The proposal doesn’t delve as deeply into oil tax policy as the version that passed the House. But the Alaska Oil and Gas Association says an initial review […]

  • Ex-‘Deadliest Catch’ star arrested on drug charges

    by Associated Press on Apr 24, 21:47

    PHOENIX (AP) – A former reality television star has been arrested in Phoenix for alleged vehicle theft and drug possession. Phoenix police say 31-year-old Jacob Harris was released on his own recognizance Monday after his initial court appearance. He faces a May 5 status conference. Harris was on Discovery channel’s “Deadliest Catch” series. According to […]

  • We may be underestimating whale-boat collisions

    by Associated Press on Apr 24, 21:34

    PORTLAND, Maine — A group of marine scientists says collisions of whales and boats off of the New England coast may be more common than previously thought. The scientists focused on the humpback whale population in the southern Gulf of Maine, a body of water off of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. They found that […]

  • Man gets 4 years in Anchorage bank robbery

    by KTVA Web Staff on Apr 24, 21:25

    An Anchorage man has been sentenced to serve four years behind bars following a conviction for a 2016 bank robbery. Scott Hartvig McDowell, 49, was sentenced to four years in prison and three years of supervised release in connection with the Alaska USA Federal Credit Union robbery that occurred on August 2, 2016. McDowell presented […]

  • News

    Aurora watchers spot something new in night sky

    by CBS News on Apr 24, 21:00

    Citizen scientists looking at the northern lights appear to have stumbled upon a new natural phenomenon. Members of the Facebook group Alberta Aurora Chasers posted photos of a mysterious purple streak cutting through the night’s sky. In their early posts, the group’s members referred to the streak of purple light as a “proton arc” — […]

  • Juneau playground fire ‘possibly arson’

    by KTVA Web Staff on Apr 24, 20:52

    A fire broke out Monday evening at a popular child’s playground in Juneau. The Twin Lakes playground went up in flames in the 5 o’clock hour Monday evening, and the $250,000-worth of playground equipment is a total loss. No injuries were reported, according to Capital City Fire and Rescue. The Fire Marshal is investigating the […]

  • News

    Alaskans might need passport for flights, military base access

    by Liz Raines on Apr 24, 19:38

    If state lawmakers don’t pass new legislation soon, Alaskans may not be able to use their  State of Alaska driver’s license to fly or access military bases.  That’s because of the Real ID Act passed by Congress in 2005, designed to create minimum security standards for all state ID cards nationwide. Now, 12 years later, the […]

  • News

    Crowd packs 4th Avenue Theater meeting

    by Lauren Maxwell on Apr 24, 17:49

    Meetings of the State’s Historic Preservation Commission don’t always draw big crowds, but on Monday morning, the room was packed. People came to testify before the Commission as to why they believed Anchorage’s 4th Avenue Theater should be designated a historic monument by the state. Judy Bittner, chair of the commission, said the hearing was […]