Skip to comments.Air Force: Not so fast on lesbian's reinstatement
Posted on 11/24/2010 4:12:40 PM PST by markomalley
The Air Force said Wednesday it hasn't made a decision on whether to try to keep a lesbian flight nurse from being reinstated while it appeals a judge's ruling to return her to her old job.
U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton in Tacoma ruled two months ago that former Maj. Margaret Witt's firing under "don't ask, don't tell" violated her rights, and he ordered that she be given her job back as soon as she put in enough nursing hours to meet qualifications for the position.
The Justice Department appealed that ruling Tuesday. But government lawyers did not seek a stay that would put the judge's order on hold.
Witt's lawyers celebrated the DOJ's decision, saying it meant she could be reinstated even as the appeal proceeds.
But the Air Force issued a statement Wednesday making clear that if Witt meets her nursing qualifications, military officials and the Justice Department will reconsider whether to seek a stay.
"To date, she has provided the Air Force no evidence that she meets the qualifications necessary to serve as an Air Force flight nurse, nor has she passed a medical physical which is also a prerequisite to her reinstatement," said the statement released by Lt. Col. Karen A. Platt.
Witt's lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington said they'd fight any effort to keep their client from resuming her duties during the appeal. They noted that the judge found that her dismissal advanced no legitimate military interest, and to the contrary actually hurt morale in her unit at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
"We do not foresee a problem in Maj. Witt getting reinstated," ACLU spokesman Doug Honig said. "We will present the Air Force with evidence showing she meets the nursing hours requirements and she will pass the physical."
The physical is a fitness test, rather than a medical exam, Honig said.
Witt was suspended in 2004 and subsequently discharged after the Air Force learned she had been in a long-term relationship with a civilian woman.
If Witt is reinstated, she would be serving openly at a time when the military's policy on gays is in disarray. President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates want to end the ban, but say it should be done through Congress, not the courts.
A federal judge in California has declared the 1993 "don't ask, don't tell" law unconstitutional - a ruling the DOJ is also appealing. In the meantime, the Pentagon has implemented new guidelines that have drastically cut the number of gays being dismissed under the policy.
The Pentagon plans to release a monthslong study Nov. 30 on how lifting the gay service ban would affect the armed forces.
"Don't ask" prohibits the military from asking about the sexual orientation of service members but allows the discharge of those who acknowledge being gay or are discovered to be engaging in homosexual activity.
If the Pentagon and the President were all so friendly for gays...then I don’t understand why they don’t just throw down their playing cards and do the “right thing”? It almost makes me think that they really want this to drag out and be some Republican problem in 2011...which would translate into lots of votes in 2012. This is one of the most foolish political acts that I’ve seen in years.
The DOJ is full of homo retards one is the AG.
Maybe she could work at the TSA in the meantime.
As I see it no rights have been violated and she has no right to be reinstated. She was not discharged for “being” gay, she was discharged for violating the “don’t tell” regulations. There is no “free speech” or “freedom of expression” rights in the military.
The Pentagon is enforcing a policy mandated by Congress. Don’t blame them. We have civilian control over the military in this country.
“nor has she passed a medical physical which is also a prerequisite to her reinstatement”
Ha haa! I bet she’s 49% body fat.
The people drummed out of the military before and after DADT may have serious lawsuits against the gov't. If homosexual behavior is totally normalized, legally it is going to open up one hell of a hornets' nest.
I know someone who spent time in Leavenworth for homosexual behavior in the 80's. Depending how all this shakes out there could be serious repercussions.
These gays better hope that the islamists now pushing their agenda never come to power and cut their damned heads off.
Yep. I say on these threads all the time, but most people don't realize how hard it is to get discharged under DADT. To believe the media, the military is involved in relentless witch hunts to "out" homosexuals. It's BS. Gays serve. Most of the people they work with know they're gay. Nothing happens to them unless they make some very (usually VERY, VERY) public proclamation of the sexual preferences.
They also don’t explain that the reason the whole thing came to light was because she was involved in an adulterous affair with a married woman.
I didn't know that, but coincidentally I was going to add to my post - one of the biggest reasons DADT gets enforced is because of some untoward "lovers" fiasco, usually involving some kind of adultery, or my personal favorite domestic violence - lesbians especially love them some bigtime DV altercations. Local civilian PD gets the called, they get booked, and a few weeks later they're getting discharged because of DADT. Happens all the time.
“...an adulterous affair with a married woman....”
That too is grounds for discharge.
I served from ‘73-’77. There were a number of homosexuals in the ranks then. They did their jobs, kept the noses clean and no one cared.
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Why have Congress? Just toss everything at a few activist judges. What's the right word, I know it's not "judge-ocracy".
Time to repeal DADT and re-institute "NO HOMOSEXUALS WHATSOEVER!" The military needs to be strong, cohesive, and the troops need to have good morale. Larding the military with homosexuals ruins morale for many, many reasons. Homosesxuals are mentally ill with grave character and behavior failings and need to be kept out of the military. Whatever happens between now and January, I hope the R controlled Congress can undo any damage done.
That, in and of itself, is grounds for a BCD — “Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Gentlewoman.”
Good riddance, Major!
There is a little more to the "poor mistreated and abused upstanding fine lesbian" story that seems to always conveniently be left out by the homosexual sex worshiping media elite:
Yesterday afternoon the Federal Appeals Court for the 9th Circuit dealt a significant blow to the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. The ACLU of Washington represents a decorated Air Force Major, Margaret Witt, who was discharged for being in a relationship with another woman. In its decision, the court ruled that the Air Force must prove that discharging Major Witt is necessary for purposes of military readiness. While the court stopped short of striking down "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," it made it clear that following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence v. Texas, the military has a much higher burden in justifying the ban:
We hold that when the government attempts to intrude upon the personal and private lives of homosexuals, in a manner that implicates the rights identified in Lawrence [v. Texas], the government must advance an important governmental interest, the intrusion must significantly further that interest, and the intrusion must be necessary to further that interest. In other words, for the third factor, a less intrusive means must be unlikely to achieve substantially the government's interest.
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration has decided to accept an appeals-court ruling that could undermine the military's ban on service members found to be gay.
A federal appeals court in San Francisco last year ruled that the government must justify the expulsion of a decorated officer solely because she is a lesbian. The court rejected government arguments that the law banning gays in the military should have a blanket application, and that officials shouldn't be required to argue the merits in her individual case.
The administration let pass a May 3 deadline to appeal to the Supreme Court. That means the case will be returned to the district court, and administration officials said they will continue to defend the law there.
The move "takes the issue off the front burner," as a trial and subsequent appeals could take years before the question returns to the Supreme Court, said an official familiar with the matter.
The decision comes as President Barack Obama attempts a balancing act on gay rights. He was elected with strong support from the gay community and promised action on a number of issues. But mindful of the complex politics, the White House has moved slowly.
Justice Department lawyers representing the Air Force note that the case has put them in the position of defending a law neither the president nor the department itself believes is good policy. Defense Secretary Robert Gates also favors repealing the 1993 law, which prohibits the military from asking about the sexual orientation of service members but allows the discharge of those who acknowledge being gay or are discovered to be engaging in homosexual activity.
Government lawyers nevertheless insist Witt's firing was justifiedand that the panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did not know the extent of her conduct when it sided with her in 2008. That conduct included a long-term relationship with a civilian woman, an affair with a woman who was married at the time and two earlier relationships with fellow servicewomen, Witt acknowledged in a deposition in May.
It was a 2004 e-mail from the husband of the married woman to the Air Force chief of staff, Gen. John Jumper, that prompted the investigation into Witt's sexuality.
“Margaret “Butch” Witt”
If this is how she looks in uniform, then I would say she is borderline on meeting weight requirements. She looks to heavy, her face would indicate a high body fat content. I don’t think she meets military standards.