Blog of Rights

Maj. Margaret Witt to Rejoin Air Force While Government Appeals Decision

By Suzanne Ito, ACLU at 1:04pm

Last night, the government appealed the decision of a federal district court judge finding that Air Force flight nurse Maj. Margaret Witt's sexual orientation does not negatively impact unit morale or cohesion.

Notably, the government did not seek a stay of the judge's order reinstating Maj. Witt to her unit. Maj. Witt will therefore be the first openly gay person to serve in the military due to a court order under DADT.

Maj. Witt said in a statement last night:

I am thrilled to be able to serve in the Air Force again. The men and women in the unit are like family members to me, and I've been waiting a long time to rejoin them. Thousands of men and women who are gay and lesbian honorably serve this country in our military. Many people forget that the U.S. military is the most diverse workforce in the world — we are extremely versed in adaptation. Wounded personnel have never asked me about my sexual orientation. They were just glad to see me.

Next Tuesday, the Pentagon will release the results of its study exploring the views and attitudes of active-duty and reserve service members, as well as military families, on a possible repeal of DADT. Key details reported by the Washington Post earlier this month found that more than 70 percent of survey respondents found that repeal of DADT would be "positive, mixed or nonexistent." These results reflect previous polls of service members and the American public, which consistently find large majorities either in favor of or ambivalent about repeal.

Please join with the ACLU in urging the Senate to act and vote to repeal DADT this year. There is no reason and no excuse for delay. Service members such as Maj. Witt, who are willing to risk their lives in our armed forces, should be allowed to serve with honesty and integrity.

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