• 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

    UPDATE: Horseshoe Lake Fire reaches 25 acres

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 30, 15:51

    Crews are working to contain a fire, located off Millers Reach Road north of Big Lake. Early Sunday afternoon, authorities were alerted to the fire. Named the Horshoe Lake Fire, it has reached about 25 acres, as of 8 p.m. Sunday. Both helicopters and ground crews are assisting in the containment efforts, according to Norm […]

  • Crime

    Man stabbed in face after altercation in downtown Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 30, 15:05

    Police say a young adult male suffered a severe stab wound to his face early Sunday morning after an altercation in downtown Anchorage. Around 2:40 a.m. the Anchorage Police Department received a report of a possible stabbing near Seventh Avenue and D Street. It was reported to police that a group of males got into a […]

  • News

    President Obama to announce renaming of Mount McKinley to Denali

    by Sierra Starks on Aug 30, 13:01

    During his trip to Alaska, President Barack Obama will announce that the federal government has officially restored the name of Denali to the mountain previously known as Mount McKinley. “Today, finalizing a process initiated by the State of Alaska in 1975, President Obama is announcing that the Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell used her […]

  • Lifestyle

    1st weekend of Alaska State Fair kicks off with parade

    by Eric Ruble on Aug 30, 11:52

    The first weekend of the Alaska State Fair kicked off with a parade in downtown Palmer. Forty-five different floats traveled down South Alaska Street, each stopping for 30 seconds at the grandstand to be judged by a panel. Groups from around Southcentral Alaska created their own unique floats that were dispersed between tractors and dozens […]

  • Crime

    Man charged in East Anchorage double homicide

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 30, 10:37

    Anchorage police have arrested and charged a man in a double homicide that occurred in January. Michael Dorell Kelvin Reynold, 22, was taken into custody on Saturday in connection with the shooting deaths of 27-year-old Christian Haynes and 23-year-old Krystal Hawk, according to a release from the Anchorage Police Department. Haynes and Hawk, a couple, were […]

  • News

    Dillingham plans to voice erosion concerns during President Obama’s visit

    by Emily Carlson on Aug 29, 18:50

    When Dillingham residents are asked what their land means to them, the answer is simple — it’s home. Many fear that, due to erosion, they will not only lose their land but also the culture that’s been built upon those shores.

  • News

    Gov. Walker to fly with President Obama to Alaska

    by Associated Press on Aug 29, 13:15

    Gov. Bill Walker will fly to Alaska with President Barack Obama on Monday. Walker’s office announced in a release Saturday that Walker will accompany the president aboard Air Force One from Washington, D.C. The president will address a State Department global warming conference Monday afternoon in Anchorage. He also has visits planned in Seward, Dillingham […]

  • Crime

    UPDATE: Suspect sought in connection with 1 of the overnight shootings in Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 29, 8:03

    Anchorage police say two men were injured in shootings that happened in the overnight hours between Friday and Saturday. APD is now seeking a suspect, Michael Sharp, in connection with one of those shootings. On Friday, officers went to two homes in response to a verbal altercation between three people, a 23-year-old woman, her 23-year […]