Sunday, Aug 18, 2019
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 37 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
 
 
 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 26, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 48
Major Witt, dismissed under DADT, wins right to rejoin military
Section One
ALL STORIES
  next story
Major Witt, dismissed under DADT, wins right to rejoin military

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Major Margaret Witt, a decorated flight nurse who had been dismissed under the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' (DADT) policy, will be able to resume her service with the U.S. Air Force, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Washington announced November 23. Major Witt will become the first openly Gay person to serve in the military due to a court order under DADT. The ACLU-WA has represented Witt in a four-year-long lawsuit seeking her reinstatement.

In September, the U.S. District Court for Western Washington ordered the Air Force to reinstate Witt. After six days of trial, the Court found that Witt's sexual orientation does not negatively impact unit moral or cohesion. On November 23, the government filed a motion to appeal that ruling, but it is not seeking a stay in the order to reinstate Witt.

'I am thrilled to be able to serve in the Air Force again. The men and women in the unit are like family members to me, and I've been waiting a long time to rejoin them. Thousands of men and women who are Gay and Lesbian honorably serve this country in our military. Many people forget that the U.S. military is the most diverse workforce in the world - we are extremely versed in adaptation,' said Witt.

'Wounded personnel have never asked me about my sexual orientation. They were just glad to see me,' she added.

In 2008 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Air Force must prove that discharging Witt is necessary for purposes of military readiness. Although the ruling left in place the military's DADT policy, it sent the case back to the trial court saying that before discharging a soldier under the policy, the military must prove that the individual's conduct actually hurts morale and unit cohesion. This requirement is now known as the 'Witt Standard.'

'We look forward to the day when all members of our military can serve our country without invidious discrimination. To discharge her simply because of her sexual orientation was entirely unfair to her and unwise for the military, which needs her significant skills,' said ACLU of Washington Executive Director Kathleen Taylor.

ACLU-WA Legal Director Sarah Dunne said, 'The U.S. military integrated different races and women over the last 50 years. There is zero evidence to suggest that Gay and Lesbian soldiers can't serve openly. The time for DADT has ended. America is in a different place, and so is the U.S. military.'

A 1986 graduate of Pacific Lutheran University, Major Margaret Witt was a flight nurse assigned to McChord Air Force Base near Tacoma. During her 19-year career in the Air Force, Major Witt served in the Persian Gulf, received many medals and commendations, and always had superb evaluations from her superiors. In 1993, she was selected to be the 'poster child' for the Air Force Nurse Corps recruitment flyer.

Witt served in Oman during Operation Enduring Freedom and received a medal from President Bush, who noted that she had delivered 'outstanding medical care' to injured servicemembers and that her 'outstanding aerial accomplishments & reflect great credit upon herself and the United States Air Force.' In 2003, Major Witt received another medal for saving the life of a Defense Department employee who collapsed aboard a government-chartered flight from Bahrain.

From 1997 to 2003, Major Witt was in a committed relationship with a civilian woman. In the summer of 2004, Witt was notified that the Air Force had begun an investigation into an allegation that she had engaged in homosexual conduct. In November 2004, Witt was placed on unpaid leave and told she could no longer participate in any military duties, pending formal separation proceedings.

In March 2006, the Air Force informed Witt that she was being administratively discharged on grounds of homosexual conduct. The following month, the ACLU filed papers for Witt challenging the discharge and seeking her reinstatement.

The military provided no evidence that her sexual orientation or conduct has caused a problem in the performance of her military duties. To the contrary, the ACLU had several of Witt's military colleagues testify that her forced absence has been harmful to her unit's morale.

Representing Major Witt are ACLU-WA Legal Director Sarah Dunne and Perkins Coie Fellow Sher Kung, and ACLU-WA cooperating attorneys James Lobsenz of Carney Badley Spellman and Aaron Caplan of Loyola Law School.

In a previous military case, the ACLU-WA and Lobsenz represented Army Sgt. Perry Watkins, who was dismissed in 1981 when President Ronald Reagan decided no homosexuals could serve in the military. In 1989, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that, as a matter of basic fairness, the Army could not discharge Watkins since the military had known he was Gay when they drafted him in 1968.

Tell a friend:

Share on Facebook  Share on Facebook

Post to MySpace!Share on MySpace!

    Share on Delicious

Share on StumbleUpon!

San Francisco LGBT organization creates The World Tree of Hope for SF City Hall
------------------------------
Major Witt, dismissed under DADT, wins right to rejoin military
------------------------------
Pope says condoms OK & or does he?
------------------------------
Vigil held for Transgender Day of Remembrance
------------------------------
Retroviral drug may block HIV transmission
------------------------------
Gaydar.net: Exactly who is approving my profile?
------------------------------
Week 6 Part 1 - Leaving Maun, the Okavango Delta for Kasane, then Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls
------------------------------
Harvard president says ROTC welcome once Gay ban ends
------------------------------
Southern Poverty Law Center: Gays main targets of hate crime
------------------------------
Tea Party to GOProud: Thanks for the help, now fuck off!
------------------------------
Charges finally dropped in Fort Worth bar raid
------------------------------
Virgin America pilot marries Gay couple over Canadian airspace
------------------------------
UNAIDS: AIDS epidemic ebbs, problems remain
------------------------------
Students across the country participate in Transgender Day of Remembrance
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
BREAKING NEWS
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 

gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml
copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2010

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News