Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Margaret Witt

Judge Orders Air Force To Reinstate Lesbian Nurse Witt

6a00d8341c730253ef01348752a03b970c-800wi While Eddie Long's languishing in scandal this weekend, retired Air Force Maj. Margaret Witt will be busy celebrating, because federal Judge Judge Ronald Leighton ruled this afternoon that the military violated Witt's constitutional rights by discharging her under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

"Good flight nurses are hard to find," the Judge noted today, after a six-day trial, and told the Air Force to reinstate Witt, a move which "would not adversely affect unit morale or cohesion."

Witt's journey began in 2004, when, after 17 years in the Air Force, she was suspended and ultimately discharged under the discriminatory policy.

The resultant lawsuit led the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to rule in Witt's favor in 2008, and this latest ruling, which impacts only Witt's discharge, has already resonated among gay groups the country.

Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese released the following jubilant statement, "By reinstating Major Witt, a decorated Air Force nurse discharged under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ another federal court has demonstrated once again that this discriminatory law does not contribute to our nation’s security or defense."

Meanwhile, Servicemembers United Executive Director Alexander Nicholson declared, "Yet another judge has taken yet another righteous, historic, and courageous stand against a discriminatory and unconstitutional law."

There's still no word from the White House or the Department of Justice, which this week issued an objection to the Log Cabin Republicans' injunction asking for a DADT ban.

Small Update: A reader pointed out to me that I neglected to include a statement from the ACLU, which represented Witt. Many apologies. Here is what ACLU executive director Kathleen Taylor had to say: Today we heard the hammer of justice strike for Major Margaret Witt. We look forward to the day when all members of our military can serve our country without invidious discrimination. [Witt's discharge] was entirely unfair to her and unwise for the military, which needs her significant skills."

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  1. Finally, some good news.

    Posted by: Jon Lee Hart | Sep 24, 2010 6:20:22 PM

  2. Agreed..Finally GOOD news!!!

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Sep 24, 2010 6:27:46 PM

  3. This is reassuring :) I hope it opens the doors for all DADT-expelled military personnel to reclaim their careers.

    Posted by: Seamus | Sep 24, 2010 6:33:20 PM

  4. Congrats, Maj. Witt on a long battle well fought.

    Posted by: niles | Sep 24, 2010 6:45:01 PM

  5. This is indeed extraordinary news, although I must say that it is a shame to have omitted the ACLU of Washington, who fought and won this case for Major Witt, from the post, while including a comment from the HRC, which has had nothing to do with this at all.

    Posted by: Thanks again, ACLU | Sep 24, 2010 6:55:29 PM

  6. Another activist Republican judge! I hope someone asks Walnuts! McCain for his reaction. He will probably explode.

    Posted by: Ninong | Sep 24, 2010 7:27:39 PM

  7. You're very right: I'm adding the ACLU's statement now. Sorry!

    Posted by: Andrew Belonsky | Sep 24, 2010 7:27:46 PM

  8. Yes, and specifically, the ACLU of Washington (State)! We're Podunk, but we're still here :-)

    Posted by: David R. | Sep 25, 2010 12:16:08 AM

  9. Great news, but did the judge really write "moral" instead of "morale"?

    Posted by: piernudo | Sep 25, 2010 10:23:34 AM

  10. Congrats to Major Witt, the ACLU, and GLBT community on another victory for equality. Don't be surprised however if that LIAR Obama and DOJ don't object. The judge that made this ruling was appointed by Bush. OH George Takay would say. Don't give ANY credit to HRC or the LYING Obama Whitehouse. Who's helping us? Log Cabin Republicans and Bush appoionted judges......WTF! To think all these years I have wasted my money and votes on the Democrats. Well, those days are so over.

    Posted by: Robert | Sep 25, 2010 10:30:04 AM

  11. Thanks, Piernudo!

    Posted by: Andrew Belonsky | Sep 25, 2010 11:00:57 AM

  12. And what about damages/compensation for wrongful breach of her constitutional rights ?

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Sep 25, 2010 11:39:41 AM

  13. I love that this case, and the Log Cabin court case demanding repeal of DADT, flies right in the face of Obama's lack of action.

    Posted by: Jack Scribe | Sep 25, 2010 4:05:01 PM

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