Friday, September 24, 2010

Lesbian Wronged by Air Force, Rules Fed. Judge

Federal judge orders military to reinstate Maj. Margaret Witt, ruling that discharging her in accordance with long-standing federal law and “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy violated her constitutional rights

UPDATE 11/30/10: Lesbian Nurse Expects Air Force Reinstatement

UPDATE 9/25/10: Liberal 9th Circuit Court forcing examination of 'gay discharges'

-- From "Judge rules military's 'don't ask, don't tell' policy violated constitutional rights of Air Force reserve nurse" by Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times 9/24/10

The order by U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton in Tacoma applied only to Witt’s challenge of her 2006 discharge, but the judge noted in his ruling that decisions about whether homosexuality in the armed forces impeded legitimate military objectives had to be decided on a case-by-case basis, not a blanket policy.

Leighton cited Witt’s exemplary career and performance evaluations as evidence that the Air Force was unharmed by her sexual orientation and also noted reports from her former colleagues that it was her dismissal that proved disruptive of unit cohesion and morale.

Leighton observed at the conclusion of trial on Witt’s lawsuit seeking reinstatement that he was bound by a 2008 ruling by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that said gays couldn’t be fired from the military unless their discharge was necessary to further military objectives.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Statement from Judge Leighton after the Margaret Witt trial" posted at The Seattle Times 9/24/10

. . . U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Leighton on Friday made the following comments from the bench:

1) I hope you will request reinstatement with the Air Force Reserves and the 446th [her unit]. You will provide the best evidence that open service of gays and lesbians will have no adverse effect on cohesion, morale or readiness in this or perhaps any Air Force or military unit.

2) You have been and continue to be a central figure in a long-term, highly charged civil-rights movement. That role places extraordinary stresses on you, I know. 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. . . .

To read more of the judge's comments, CLICK HERE.

Also read, Judge Obliges Obama: Gays in Military