"I am proud of my career and want to continue doing my job. Wounded people never asked me about my sexual orientation. They were just glad to see me there." Those are the words of Major Margaret Witt. Witt was a decorated flight nurse, whose citation from President Bush said, "Her airmanship and courage directly contributed to the successful accomplishment of important missions under extremely hazardous conditions."
Now you might think the military would be proud to have such a dedicated soldier and nurse in their ranks -- but you would be wrong. The same year Witt (pictured above) received her citation, during a war and a military nursing shortage, the Air Force kicked her out.
It seems that they had, to their ultimate horror, discovered that she was homosexual and had a long-term relationship with a civilian woman. Even though she had 18 years of distinguished service (two short of receiving retirement benefits), they canned her. They were just following their "Don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding homosexuality.
This shows the ridiculous nature of that policy. How could you possibly terminate a dedicated professional during a war and with a critical nursing shortage? Not to mention ruining the career of an officer who had done nothing wrong. Witt justifiably filed suit against the military.
A U.S. District Court judge dismissed her case, but on Wednesday the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that dismissal. The court ruled that the military's policy must be reconsidered in light of a 2003 Supreme Court decision that found a Texas ban on sodomy was an unconstitutional invasion of an individual's right to privacy.
The court said the military must prove it has a good reason for each dismissal. The opinion says, "When the government attempts to intrude upon the personal and private lives of homosexuals, the government must advance an important governmental interest...and the intrusion must be neccessary to further that interest."
In other words, it is no longer enough to say a person is a homosexual. The military must prove that fact causes actual harm to the military's mission. This destroys the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy because even if a person "tells", the military cannot take action unless they can prove it causes harm.
Many homosexual Americans have sacrificed their lives and their health by serving our country in the military. It's about time they were treated fairly.