The Air Force said Wednesday it
might still seek to block a court's ruling ordering the reinstatement
of a flight nurse discharged under “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,”
the 17-year-old law that bans gay and bisexual troops from serving
The Obama administration on Tuesday
appealed a court's ruling in favor of Major Margaret Witt but did not
seek a stay of U.S. District Court Judge Ronald B. Leighton's order
reinstating Witt to her unit.
“To date, she has provided the Air
Force no evidence that she meets the qualifications necessary to
serve as an Air Force flight nurse, nor has she passed a medical
physical, which is also a prerequisite to her reinstatement,” an
Air Force spokeswoman told POLITICO.com.
“If Major Witt shows that she meets
the prerequisites to her reinstatement at some time in the future,
the Air Force, DoD and DoJ will re-evaluate whether or not to seek a
stay of the judge's ordered reinstatement, pending appeal of the
case,” Lt. Col. Karen Platt added.
Leighton ruled in September that Witt's
sexual orientation had not negatively impacted her unit's morale or
cohesion as the military had argued.
The American Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU), which is representing Witt in court, said its client would
have no problems meeting the military's guidelines.
“We foresee no problem about Major
Witt getting reinstated,” Doug Honig of the ACLU's Washington state
chapter said. “Once we discuss this with the Air Force, present
evidence meeting the nursing hours requirements, and Major Witt
passes the physical – all of which will happen – we would be
shocked if the Air Force were suddenly to seek to stay her
Witt was expelled from the military for
“homosexual conduct” after her commanders learned she was
involved in a lesbian relationship.