Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-12-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor


  WINDY CITY TIMES

Judge orders military to reinstate lesbian
by Lisa Keen, Keen News Service
2010-09-29

This article shared 2319 times since Wed Sep 29, 2010
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


For the second time this month, a federal judge has ruled "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ( DADT ) violates the federal constitution.

The latest ruling came Sept. 23 from the U.S. District Court for Western Washington, in Tacoma, where Judge Ronald Leighton said Air Force Reserve nurse Margaret Witt's sexual orientation did not negatively impact her unit's morale or unit cohesion. He said Witt's discharge under DADT violated her Fifth Amendment right to due process.

On Sept. 9, U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips ruled, in Log Cabin Republicans v. U.S., that DADT violated both First and Fifth amendment rights of gay servicemembers.

The Witt v. U.S. case has been a high-profile one and the subject of debate on the floor of the Senate and in the confirmation hearing of the U.S. Supreme Court's newest member, Elena Kagan.

Senate Republicans charged that Kagan, as solicitor general, undermined DADT when she advised the Obama administration not to appeal to the Supreme Court a preliminary ruling in the Witt case. That preliminary ruling, from the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, said Witt and other servicemembers discharged under DADT were entitled to trial proceedings to determine if their being gay was, in fact, a detriment to military morale and unit cohesion.

Leighton presided over a trial this month to determine whether there was any evidence to the military's claim that Witt's relationship with a woman was detrimental to her military unit.

During the seven-day trial, Leighton heard testimony from Witt's comrades that it was her discharge—and not her being gay—that inflicted injury to her reserve unit's morale.

Attorneys for the U.S. Department of Justice, defending DADT, put on witnesses to discuss Witt's relationship with a married civilian woman and argued that Witt's adulterous behavior was also to blame for her discharge. The government also noted that Witt had told at least two colleagues she was gay, thus putting them in an awkward position of either keeping silent to protect her or informing superior officers of Witt's being in violation of the DADT law.

In his opinion, issued Sept. 24, Leighton noted that the 9th Circuit had directed him to determine whether the application of DADT to Witt "significantly furthers the government's interest, and whether less intrusive means would substantially achieve the government's interest." The 9th Circuit also directed him to use "heightened scrutiny" of the government's reasons for DADT—a level of scrutiny that required the government to offer more than just a "rational" reason; it had to identify an important reason for Witt's discharge.

While the government made the "unassailable point that uniformity and consistency in the administration of personnel policies is a desirable objective," said Leighton, "When similar people are treated differently, morale and cohesion suffer."

Leighton added that the evidence at trial "overwhelmingly supports" Witt's claim, that her discharge did not advance the government's interest in unit cohesion and morale. Instead, said Leighton, the discharge had the "opposite effect."

"In support of the Congressional findings underpinning DADT, the government can point to polls and petitions which reflect Congress' fear that openly serving gays and lesbians will negatively impact military readiness by eroding unit morale and cohesion across the services without regard to any one individual's billet or job description," wrote Leighton. "Again, these polls are some evidence that some folks would prefer to not serve with admitted homosexuals. That such views may lead to a drop in recruitment or retention is a possibility, just as it was a possibility during the integration of blacks, other minorities and women into the armed forces. The possibility of such push back is off-set by the known negative impact of DADT upon the military: the loss of highly skilled and trained military personnel once they have been outed and the concomitant assault on unit morale and cohesion caused by their extraction from the military. In this regard, the Court notes the Army's policy of deploying openly gay or lesbian personnel if the discharge process has not yet begun when the order to deploy issues. In this time of war, the Army, at least, has decided that allowing openly gay service is preferable to going to war without a member of a particular unit."

Witt joined the Air Force in 1987 and moved quickly up the ranks, becoming a major in 1999, working with a unit that provided airborne intensive care units for wounded military personnel. She received a number of commendations and even appeared on a recruitment poster. In June 2004, while Witt was in the reserve in Tacoma, Wash., she began a relationship with her current partner, Laurie McChesney. McChesney was, in the early weeks of the relationship, still married to a man. That man, Pat McChesney, learned of the relationship and e-mailed Witt's superior officers, telling them about Witt's relationship with his wife. The military launched an investigation and, in 2007, discharged Witt under DADT.

©2010 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


This article shared 2319 times since Wed Sep 29, 2010
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Veterans Day event features Col. Pritzker, Kinzinger and Duckworth 2021-11-12
- On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, the Pritzker Military Museum & Library (PMML), 104 S. Michigan Ave., hosted a free Veteran's Day program that was livestreamed live via YouTube. Transgender Col. (IL) Jennifer Pritzker, IL ARNG (Retired ...


Gay News

Pritzker Military Museum, Library to screen TransMilitary doc, Q&A with special guests 2021-09-28
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL (September 27, 2021) On Thursday, Sept. 30, at 5:30 p.m., the Pritzker Military Museum & Library will host the screening of the 2018 SXSW Audience Award Winner for Best Documentary TransMilitary. The program will ...


Gay News

Resolution recognizes 10th anniversary of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" 2021-09-20
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Today, Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA), along with Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH), lead a resolution to recognize the 10th anniversary of the enactment of the repeal of "Don't Ask, ...


Gay News

BOOKS 'Mission Possible' released before 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' anniversary 2021-09-20
- C. Dixon Osburn, co-founder and former CEO of the Servicmembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), has written Mission Possible: The Story of the Repealing 'Don't Ask Don't Tell. This is the inside story of SLDN, which was ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Carl Bean dies, LGBT History Month, military events, Dykes on Bikes 2021-09-19
- Archbishop Carl Bean—an openly gay former Motown singer, longtime AIDS activist and leader in the LGBTQ church movement—died at age 77, The New York Daily News reported. In a statement entitled "The Giant Sleeps," the Unity ...


Gay News

VA to offer surgery to transgender vets for the first time 2021-06-20
- U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Denis McDonough announced that officials, for the first time, will offer surgeries for transgender veterans seeking to transition, Military Times reported. The move follows ...


Gay News

Pritzker Military Museum to hold panel on Department of Defense and transgender employees 2021-06-10
--From a press release - CHICAGO, June 8, 2021 — The Pritzker Military Museum & Library is proud to present a panel discussion, "Exploring the Intersection of the U.S. Military and the LGBTQ Community," on Wednesday, June 23rd at Noon CDT ...


Gay News

Pritzker Military Museum hosting June 23 Pride panel 2021-06-09
- Chicago's Pritzker Military Museum & Library is presenting a panel discussion, "Exploring the Intersection of the U.S. Military and the LGBTQ Community," on Wed., June 23, at noon CT in celebration of Pride Month. The virtual ...


Gay News

Chicago LGBT veterans honor the fallen on Memorial Day 2021-05-31
- The Chicago Chapter of the American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER) honored the fallen on Memorial Day with flowers at the granite monument on Halsted Street and Addison which honors LGBTQ veterans. The monument was commissioned ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Military bill, LGBTQ teen, trans deaths, Pride items, children's book 2021-05-09
- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill that directs the Department of Military and Veterans' Affairs in the Garden State to assist former Armed Forces service members who were denied an honorable discharge due to ...


Gay News

Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Blackhawks Foundation Military Appreciation Night May 1 2021-04-30
--From a press release - The Chicago Blackhawks and the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation, in partnership with USO Illinois and Boeing, will kick off May's National Military Appreciation Month with the team's Military Appreciation Night game on Saturday, May 1 as the ...


Gay News

Pentagon reverses Trump-era ban on trans military service, GLAAD responds 2021-03-31
--From a GLAAD press release - New York, NY - Wednesday, March 31, 2021 - GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, celebrates news that the Pentagon will issue ...


Gay News

Modern Military Association of America names executive director 2021-02-09
--From a press release - MMAA is pleased to announce that the board of directors has selected Jennifer Dane as executive director. Jennifer is a U.S. Air Force veteran and has served as the organization's interim executive director since February 2020. ...


Gay News

MMAA condemns Cong. Marjorie Taylor Greene's 'Hate American Flags' statement 2021-02-01
--From a Modern Military Association of America press release - WASHINGTON — Tonight, the Modern Military Association of America (MMAA) — the nation's largest LGBTQ military and veteran non-profit organization — condemns Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene's statement on 'hate Ameri ...


Gay News

Biden's repeal of trans military ban impacts over 15,500 adults in the military 2021-01-25
--From a Williams Institute press release - A summary of current data on transgender military service in U.S. Today, President Biden signed an executive order ending the ban on transgender military service. The directive instructs the Department of Defense to reinstate the 2016 ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.