Remember the name: Major Margaret Witt, United States Air Force. She will undoubtedly be remembered as a trailblazer for women in the gay rights movement.
For 19 years Major Witt served with distinction as a flight nurse, tending to the wounded and the critically ill. She received medals, was featured in a recruitment flyer, and served tours in the mid-east where — among other notable achievements – she helped evacuate wounded troops and earned a special commendation for saving the life of a Defense Department worker.
And for all this, Major Witt was honorably, but involuntarily discharged two years short of the time needed to receive retirement benefits. Her offense: A relationship with a same-sex partner for six years. Commanders had received an anonymous tip in 2004 which led to an investigation and ultimate discharge under the “don’t ask, don’t tell,” ban on gays serving in the military.
Major Witt did the right thing. She sued. This month, the 9th District Court of Appeals overturned that decision and ordered her reinstated, saying the military cannot automatically discharge people because they are gay. While this does not strike down “don’t ask, don’t tell,” it puts the military in a position …