Former Air Force Maj. Margaret Witt was a 17-year veteran of the armed services until 2004, when the husband of a woman she was dating (scandal!) told her superiors about the same-sex relationship. Three years later, Witt was fired under DADT. And she sued over it! And today, she’s going to court! Another DADT trial, you say? Yes, I respond.
The suit almost didn’t happen. It was dismissed until she appealed to the Ninth Circuit, which reinstated her claim in 2008, demanding the government needed to ably prove it had the right to invade her private life, and that kicking her out “is the only way to significantly advance an important policy.” And so what can she hope to accomplish?
If Major Witt prevails in the district court, she will become the first woman allowed to serve openly as a lesbian since don’t ask, don’t tell was enacted in 1993. The law, however, would continue to apply to other service members. “It’s not as if she would go around telling people,” said James E. Lobsenz, a lawyer who, along with the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, is representing Major Witt. “But if someone asked, ‘Are you a lesbian,’ she could respond, ‘yes,’ and not be thrown out.”
Naturally, Obama’s Justice Department is fighting her case, just as it did with Log Cabin Republicans vs. United States, but they’re going up against Witt’s witnesses — her former colleagues — who will testify that ousting her hurt morale, rather than improving it.
The case from Witt, who remains partnered with the woman who left her tattle tale husband, follows the balls-to-the-wall decision from District Court Judge Virginia Phillips, who struck down DADT as unconstitutional. And depending on which way this one swings, I’m seriously going to be running low on my personal supply of confetti.