Judge Orders Air Force to Reinstate Lesbian

Margaret Witt was discharged under 'don't ask, don't tell'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 24, 2010 4:42 PM CDT
In this June 30, 2006 file photo shows U.S. Air Force Reservist Maj. Margaret Witt after a hearing of a case challenging her dismissal from the Air Force for being a lesbian in Tacoma, Wash.   (AP Photo/John Froschauer, File)

(Newser) – Another setback for "don't ask, don't tell": A federal judge says the Air Force violated the constitutional rights of a highly decorated flight nurse when it discharged her for being gay, and ordered that she be given her job back as soon as possible. US District Judge Ronald Leighton issued his highly anticipated ruling today in the case of former Maj. Margaret Witt. She was discharged under the DADT policy on gays serving in the military and sued to get her job back.

Witt joined the Air Force in 1987 and was suspended in 2004 just short of retirement after her commanders learned she was in a relationship with a civilian woman. Her attorneys, led by the ACLU of Washington, insisted that Witt was well respected and liked by her colleagues, that her sexuality never caused problems in the unit, and that her firing actually hurt military goals such as morale, unit cohesion, and troop readiness. More recent news on the military's ban on gay troops here.

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