Current Affairs

New legal standard to be applied to ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

Christopher Brocklebank August 25, 2010
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A woman who was discharged from the US Air Force for being gay will be the subject of a federal trial next month in which the burden will be on her former employers to prove that her sexuality was in any way harmful to morale among her unit.

Major Margaret Witt was discharged four years ago and the judicial application in question – established by the 9th US Court of Appeals – has come to be known as the “Witt standard”.

According to the News Tribune, the military’s adherence to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in Major Witt’s instance has to an extent shown that the facts are not on their side: over a dozen of her colleagues have given sworn declarations objecting to her dismissal.

One was reportedly so enraged that he refused to re-enlist.

The “Witt standard” could prove a relief of sorts for LGBT servicemen and women as they wait on the Senate to take up “compromise” legislation that would repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, based on whether President Obama and top military leaders could certify that it wouldn’t have an effect of morale or recruitment.

More: Americas, Barack Obama, Major Margaret Witt

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