Monday, September 13, 2010

Days After ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Ruling, Another Challenge Heads to Court

New York Times
September 12, 2010

For 17 years, Maj. Margaret Witt rose steadily through the Air Force and Air Force Reserves, winning plaudits from colleagues, strong performance reviews from superiors and service medals from the department. A flight nurse, she treated wounded troops during Desert Storm and was featured in Air Force promotional materials for years.

Major Witt is also a lesbian.

To hide her sexual orientation, she skipped military functions where dates were invited. She dodged questions about her personal life. And she avoided inviting colleagues home, lest some possession — a book, a photograph — might tip them off.

“You can’t be honest,” Major Witt, 46, said in a recent interview. “I didn’t want to answer questions, even to say what my weekend plans were.”

Her efforts to maintain a low profile ended in 2004, when the jilted husband of a woman Major Witt had started to date sent a note to the Air Force disclosing her orientation. After an investigation and hearing, the Air Force discharged her in 2007 under the policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell.”