Federal Judge Slaps Down DADT, Orders Reinstatement of Major Margaret Witt

Saturday, September 25, 2010


In a decision that could is sure to embarrass our rightwing president, a Federal judge ordered the reinstatement of Air Force Major Margaret Witt, who was kicked out of the service just suspended just before her retirement date in 2004

ABC News has the delicious details:

A Federal judge ruled Friday that a decorated flight nurse discharged from the Air Force for being gay should be given her job back as soon as possible in the latest legal setback to the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton came in a closely watched case as a tense debate has been playing out over the policy. Senate Republicans blocked an effort to lift the ban this week, but Leighton is now the second federal judge this month to deem the policy unconstitutional.

Maj. Margaret Witt was suspended in 2004 and subsequently discharged under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy after the Air Force learned she had been in a long-term relationship with a civilian woman. She sued to get her job back.

Tears streaked down Witt’s cheeks and she hugged her parents, her partner and supporters following the ruling.

“Today you have won a victory in that struggle, the depth and duration of which will be determined by other judicial officers and hopefully soon the political branches of government,” the judge told her, choking up as he recalled Witt’s dramatic testimony about her struggles.

The ruling was the second legal victory this month for opponents of the viciously homophobic, Clinton-era military policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and puts added pressure on the Congress and the president to repeal the unconstitutional ban.

This entry was posted in Don't Ask Don't Tell, LGBT Rights, News, Politics, President Barack Obama and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Federal Judge Slaps Down DADT, Orders Reinstatement of Major Margaret Witt

  1. Greg Equality Lengkong says:

    If the Obama Justice Dept. tries to kick Maj. Margaret Witt out of the Air Force because DADT is still on the books, then we will be left to conclude that Mr. Obama is committed to upholding an unconstitutional law, as determined now not one, but two, Federal judges.

    Should this happens, I vote for impeachment.

  2. Arizona Leatherneck says:

    Here’s what I would do if I was advising Obama.

    I would tell him to call Maj. Witt, say congratulations on your legal victory, apologize to her for the hell the DADT policy put her, reassure her the ruling will not be appealed and invite her and her partner to the White House for lunch.

    This would go along way to rebuilding PR bridges with the gay community.

  3. Tiny Dancer says:

    Woo hoo! Good on Margaret Witt!

    I’ve been following her case for sometime and I hoped the judge would rule in her favor and against bigotry and hatred. Great news.

  4. Vivzzz says:

    Arizona Leatherneck,

    I concur. But this is what a man would do in Obama’s position however, few would mistake the president for a man. In any event, muchas felicitaciones to Maj. Margaret Witt.

  5. Stephan Iversonn says:

    A big shout out to the ACLU who represented Maj. Margaret Witt. Their lawyers were exemplary.

    According to court watchers and widely reported in the Seattle and Tacoma print media, the presiding judge choked up while reading the final ruling.

    The Republican US Senate, President Obama and Eric Holder look smaller and smaller with each passing day. Very soon, they will be invisible.

  6. Big Hank says:

    It’s interesting how the Air Force mysteriously found out Margaret Witt is gay just before she was going to retire from the service and receive full benefits?

    Looks like she will get her retirement after all.

  7. Peace Nick says:

    Big Hank – Interesting, huh?

    Someone said on Rachel’s program that 60% of the DADT-based separations took place within 6 months of retirement.

    I wish I had those odds when I buy a lottery ticket.

  8. Kate Novotny says:

    I am remiss in knowing the details of Ms. Witt’s case.

    However, I am delighted she was reinstated to the Air Force and the judge hearing her case sided with her, the facts of the case and not homophobia.

  9. Adirondacky says:

    Drip, drip, drip. The pressure is on Congress and Obama to man up, get a repeal DADT once and for all. How many more Federal judges will need to stick the collective noses of the Federal government in the pot before they act?

  10. I thought the DOJ was appealing the first case that smacked down DADT. Concerned about the military, don’t you know. Meanwhile, Don Siegelman twists in the wind and W and Cheney haven’t even been investigated. Let’s face facts, Obama’s team has written off the gays. They must have determined that they don’t need us.

  11. Scott Dancer says:

    Pissed in NYC,

    I agree 100%. Obama’s team has written off the gays but I take comfort in the knowledge that the gays have written off Obama.

    We got hip to him long ago and I think most of us are now focused on 2012 and a primary challenger we can support to defeat his reelection bid.

    All Obama seems to care about is Afghanistan. Well, let’s see him take this to the voters and ask for their support in 2 years.

  12. Miss Courtet says:

    While Obama can and must use the bully pulpit to push and cajole, ultimately, ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t tell” is up to the U.S. Senate. What are they waiting for? The LGBT community needs to hold the U.S. Senate’s feet to the fire. No more foot dragging. Write a bill repealing the ban and send it to the White House.

  13. mauigirl says:

    Excellent news! DADT will be repealed sooner or later. I’m just very disappointed that this president has not done as he promised and been a true champion of justice for the LGBT troops who have been serving their country with honor all this time.

  14. fran says:

    Has a nice ring to it, eh?
    “judge declares DADT unconstitutional”

    Yay! But also it’s about damned time.
    The military should abide by non discrimination laws the Federal Government requires for the rest of us.

  15. Greg Smith says:

    Major Witt’s case was perhaps the most extreme. She lived 100 miles from her base. Her unit recieved a anonomous report that TWO YEARS EARLIER she had lived in a loving relationship with another woman. She went out of her way to “don’t tell.” Her perfomance as a flight nurse was highly rated.

    Based on the complaint, the AF began an investigation. As an officer, Major Witt was duty bound to answer direct questions. DADT was supposed to be “Don’t ask, don’t tell, DON’T PURSUE ” in this case pursuit was initiated on the thinest of evidence with no allgation that Major Witt did anything wrong. May DADT end up in the dust heap of constiutional history where it belongs

  16. Dr Louigi says:

    When I was in the Air Force, another woman I knew was discharged for being “queer.” She was a fine NCO who had never bothered me or anyone else that was straight. Over a half dozen lesbian women were known in our squadron; they kept to themselves and never approached any of the rest of us. We all worked well together and had parties together.
    Why don’t they kick people who are into S&M out of service? They are much more harmful to morale.

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