the don't tell show

Federal Judge: Maj. Margaret Witt Must Be Reinstated, But DADT Isn’t Automatically Unconstitutional

Yet again a federal judge rules Don’t Ask Don’t Tell violates constitutional rights: Former Maj. Margaret Witt, kicked out in 2007, must be reinstated, says Judge Ronald Leighton, because “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.”

And: “The men and women of the United States military have over the years demonstrated the ability to accept diverse peoples into their ranks and to treat them with the respect necessary to accomplish the mission, whatever that mission might be.”

But that doesn’t mean every gay soldier should be able to serve: Leighton drew the line at blanketly calling DADT a violation of every soldiers’ constitutional rights, instead declaring it must be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Leighton’s ruling comes in a very unique situation, given that he’s making a call that’s impacted by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal’s 2008 decision that says gays cannot be fired unless the government can show it furthers the military’s goals, effectively creating a unique class of soldiers that exist only in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington — where the 9th Circut has standing.

DoJ didn’t meet that obligation, says Leighton, and thus Witt must get her job back.

And there you have it: Quite possibly the first time a gay soldier can legally serve openly in the military. Well, until DoJ decides it wants to appeal this DADT ruling, as is practice.