September 24th, 2010
U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton has ordered Air Force Reserve Major Margaret Witt reinstated as the result of her lawsuit challenging her dismissal under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Judge Leighton wrote:
The application of “Dont’s Ask Don’t Tell” to Major Margaret Witt does not significantly further the government’s interest in promoting military readiness, unit morale and cohesion. Her discharge from the Air Force Reserves violated her substantive due process rights under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. She should be restored to her position as a Flight Nurse with the 446th AES as soon as is practicable, subject to meeting applicable regulations touching upon qualifications necessary for continued service.
Major Witt, who had been in a committed six year relationship with a woman whose home she shared in Spokane, Washington, testified that she had never disclosed her sexual orientation to her colleagues and she never engaged in prohibited behavior while on duty or on military grounds. The Air Force learned of Witt’s sexuality when Witt’s partner’s ex-husband informed Air Force officials. The judge noted Witt’s exemplary performance in her unit and found that there was no evidence that her presence had any affect on unit cohesiveness or effectiveness:
The evidence produced at trial overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that the suspension and discharge of Margaret Witt did not significantly further the important government interest in advancing unit morale and cohesion. To the contrary, the actions taken against Major Witt had the opposite effect. The 446th AES is a highly professional, rapid response, air evacuation team. It is comprised of flight nurses and medical technicians who are well-trained, well-led and highly motivated. They provide a vital service to our fighting men and women around the world. Serving within that unit are known or suspected gay or lesbian service men and women. … These people train together, fly together, care for patients together, deploy together. There is nothing in the record before this Court suggesting that the sexual orientation (acknowledged or suspected) has negatively impacted the performance, dedication or enthusiasm of the 446th AES. There is no evidence that wounded troops care about the sexual orientation of the flight nurse or medical technician tending to their wounds.
Witt’s first legal attempt to challenge her discharge resulted in a court loss in 2006. But in 2008, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the military can’t discharge gay servicemembers without proof that the discharge would further military goals.
This ruling represents yet another setback for “Don’t Ask, Dont Tell” in the courts. Earlier this month, another Federal Judge ruled the policy unconstitutional in a lawsuit brought by Log Cabin Republicans. Yesterday, the Justice Department asked the judge to limit the scope of that ruling to current LCR members only.
Which means that if the Justice Department’s request prevails in the LCR case, then there would be two legal exceptions carved out of DADT: current LCR members and Major Witt. For everyone else, the discharges will continue — unless everyone challenges their discharges in court. Is that really what it’s going to take to finally get rid of this sucker?
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
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In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
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Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
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