Lesbian reservist who successfully challenged DADT dismissal, will retire

Margaret Witt

Margaret Witt

Margaret Witt

A decorated Air Force Reserve flight nurse, who successfully challenged her dismissal under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, said on Tuesday she will retire rather than return to duty.

Reuters reports:

As part of a settlement reached with the military, Major Margaret Witt, 47, will receive full retirement benefits in exchange for the government dropping its appeal of her legal victory and removing the unlawful discharge from her service record. […]

Asked at a news conference on Tuesday why she decided instead to retire, Witt paused and replied, “My family,” before putting an arm around the waist of her partner, Laurie McChesney.

“I wanted to be there for my family. Moving forward, it was the right thing to do.”

In a September 2010 judgment hailed by gay rights advocates, U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton ruled that Witt was “constitutionally” entitled to return to the job, from which she was discharged in 2007.

During the trial, Witt claimed she adhered to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and never discussed her sexuality — she said she was outed against her will.

Leighton said the application of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in Witt’s case did “not significantly further the government’s interest in promoting military readiness, unit morale and cohesion.”

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