Former Maj. Margaret Witt, who’s suing the Air Force after being discharged in 2007 when the husband of a woman she was dating tattled on her, yesterday took the stand in her own trial. And while the Department Of Justice has shown itself to be pretty lazy in defending the laws even President Obama believes are discriminatory, on cross-examination they really sought to impress!
While DoJ tried showing the court that Witt disclosed her sexuality to comrades in her unit, thus forcing them to choose between loyalty to her or their country [Ed: HAHAHA! Isn’t this the very argument — that DADT forces both gays and straights to lie — to support its repeal?], the AP notes they also pointed out that Witt is a big fat homewrecker!
In pointed cross-examination, Justice Department lawyer Peter Phipps noted Monday that Witt had engaged in an adulterous relationship with a married civilian woman in 2003. The woman [Laurie McChesney, pictured on right], now divorced, is still Witt’s partner, but the Air Force argues that Witt’s disregard for policy in committing adultery set a bad example for others in the unit and justifies her dismissal.
“You agree that adultery is not consistent with high standards of integrity, correct?” Phipps asked.
“Yes,” Witt responded.
Ah yes, I forgot about the new U.S. military policy: Kick out all adulterers.
Because they lack the integrity the armed forces requires. It ruins unit cohesion! Recruitment! Military readiness! And marriages!
Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"
Since forever, the military has banned adultery as well as fraternization between officers and enlisted personnel, etc. A bit prudish for me but I really don’t take issue with the rule and it seems that it is applied across-the-board.
But adultery is when a married person has sex outside of their marriage. Major Witt did not commit adultery; her lover, the married Laurie McChensey committed adultery against her husband Mr. McChensey. Major Witt is not/was not a party to the McChensey’s marriage and made no oath or other commitment regarding the sexual practices of the McChenseys.
Further, as the McChenseys are civilians and not members of the military, Mrs. McChensey, though an adulterer who violated her oath to her husband, nonetheless has committed no crime and broke no laws engaging in sex with Major Witt.
So what happens when the Commander-in-Chief (that would be at least Bill Clinton) commits adultery?
Bill got kicked out. Which was sad because whatever it was he was doing or they set him up with, it never stopped him doing his JOB.
The US Military and UCMJ have long applied the “adultery”-standard to include if the “other party” is married, civilian or military spouse. Many an officer’s career has floundered on the shoals of “zipper-control” when he or she has had a sexual relationship with a married person…often the spouse of one of their subordinates…regardless of the officer’s own marital-status. The UCMJ is applied this way to protect junior officers’ and enlisteds’ spouses from being pressured into a sexual relationship to protect or promote their own spouses careers.
…It’s been a long-standing standard of conduct for officers, regardless of the sexuality of the parties involved. If Maj. Witt exhibited poor “zipper-control”…straight or lesbian…she should be booted
The thing is that they didn’t fire her for adultery. They fired her because she is gay. Now they can’t just come up with other reasons to justify it. They have a point, but it’s really only to distract from the real issue.
They also came up with something really silly:
She confided in a few people and thus made them choose between their loyalty to her and the law. Which is nonsense, because there is absolutely no requirement to turn people in for being gay. No one has ever been punished for not doing so. Not even commanding officers who look the other way.
Which is nonsense, because there is absolutely no requirement to turn people in for being gay.”
When the USAF kicked me out in 1977, it was an offense to not report someone known to be gay. I don’t know if they ever kicked anyone out for this, but I sure hope not.
At the time, I made certain that I never told any military people that anyone in my unit had any knowledge.
Thinking back on those days, I can’t help but laugh.
Every now and then they’d have witch hunts, and when they’d intimidate some closet case to start naming names, then they’d have a long ugly chain of interrogations. My boss was gay, and someone turned him in because of an indiscreet Polaroid photo they had noticed. They interrogated him, and he denied, denied, denied, and then a few weeks later, he and a female friend he had known for years got married. She knew from the get-go that he was gay, and that their marriage wasn’t going to be consummated.
Then when I showed up in his unit at the ripe age of 18, and confided in him that I was gay, he thought I was part of another inquisition trying to get him.
Lordy, that’s no way to run a military . . . but that’s exactly what they had.
My boss and I became good friends, and as I discovered the MCC church in Dallas and worked through all the coming-out issues, I knew that Tsgt. Leonard Matlovich was 100% correct, and resolved to out myself to the USAF. My boss asked me to wait until his enlistment was up, which I did, and then everything progressed from there.
. . They sent me to see the base psychologist, because they wanted to see if I was lying to get out of my enlistment obligations. I remember the shrink asking me a lot of what I thought were odd questions. About a year later, I discovered where he got all those questions from. The chapter on gays from Jerry Ruben’s book, “Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask.” The one question I thought was particularly odd was when he asked, “What is a homosexual’s favorite holiday?” I had no idea; I always liked Christmas, so I went with that. He said, “Nope, it’s Halloween,” and he read the author’s reasons why. When I got out of his office, I wrote some notes on that office visit, and wrote that I thought that question was dumb, and stereotypical.
God, that was an awful few months for me. Took them 2 months from the time I gave them my written statement to when they gave me my discharge papers, and gave me 2 days to collect my things and get off the base. They even made my return all my uniforms. Said I didn’t deserve them.
The toughest thing of all was my dog.
I was an military policeman (technically “LE”) in K9. I had been selected for an experimental small dog program, and they gave me a Cairn Terrier to train for sniffing narcotics (that’s another story for another time). He was a great little dog (Toto in the Wizard of OZ was a Cairn). I had him for a couple years, had him trained really well. The first thing they did was take my police badge and dog from me, and put me on menial jobs around the barracks. None of the other K9 handlers wanted anything to do with a terrier, so they shipped him back to Lackland AFB in San Antonio.
I chanced to run into the USAF “Dog Psychologist” Col. Dan Craig at Texas A&M about a year after that (it’s a small world), and asked him what happened to my dog. He said nobody wanted to work with him, so they “put him to sleep.”
So my getting kicked out also led to the death of a little Cairn Terrier. Toto, the drug-sniffing wonder dog. Dead because of anti-gay bigotry.
Pardon my rant . . . it’s been 33 years, and this is good therapy for me . . .
Ooops . . . didn’t mean to hijack this thread . . .
Back to the topic, but if they kicked out every adulterer from the military, there wouldn’t be a military, except for unmarried gays.
What a bunch of …..
@EM: Bill didn’t get kicked out; he served his two full terms. Not that he got as much done the last couple years as might otherwise have been…
You can’t be an adulterer if you can’t marry.
@toyotabedzrock: Hey, that means the anti-gay folks really *are* saving us from sin! Well, THAT one, anyway 🙂
Ted B. (Charging Rhino)
For those curious, “zipper control” is a major issue in the current Military;
Seriously, that was poignant. You deserved better. Thanks for sharing.
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