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
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.