This must be the month for landmark ruling on gay issues. The California marriage ruling was one, now another case may put “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” one step closer to being on ice.
An Air Force major who was dismissed for being a homosexual can continue her legal fight against the military, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals let stand the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which bars the military from discharging gay or lesbian service members as long as they do not reveal their sexual orientation.
Yet the appeals court said the government may only “intrude upon the personal and private lives of homosexuals” to “advance an important governmental interest,” such as maintaining troop readiness or improving morale.
The decision came in the case of Maj. Margaret Witt, who was discharged after a career of nearly 20 years on the grounds that she had a six-year relationship with another woman, a civilian.
Witt welcomed the decision.
“I am thrilled by the court’s recognition that I can’t be discharged without proving that I was harmful to morale,” she said in a statement released by the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington state, which sued the Air Force on Witt’s behalf in 2006.
Prove that gays are harmful to morale? I wonder if they’ll have as much luck with that as the state had proving a compelling interest in prohibiting same-sex marriage in California. One can hope, anyway.