Statement from Lambda Legal's Executive Director Kevin Cathcart on Today's Ninth Circuit "Don't Ask Don't Tell" Ruling

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'The air force now has to demonstrate a very important reason to keep Major Witt, a model officer and nurse, from serving her country.'
May 21, 2008

(New York, May 21, 2008) Lambda Legal issued the following statement today in response to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Witt v. Department of the Air Force.


Statement from Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director at Lambda Legal:


"We extend congratulations to Major Margaret Witt and her counsel, the ACLU and James Lobsenz, on today's Ninth Circuit ruling. We are pleased with the decision, which is a step in the right direction towards full equality for LGBT service members in the U.S armed forces.


The Air Force now has to demonstrate a very important reason to keep Major Margaret Witt, a model officer and nurse, from serving her country. The court held that the military's 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' policy must satisfy a heightened standard of review if it is to bar Major Witt from military service. Lambda Legal's landmark case Lawrence v. Texas was cited as the rationale to subject the policy to this high level of scrutiny. We are hopeful that on remand the district court will agree that allowing Major Witt to serve her country poses no threat to unit cohesion in the armed forces and her sexuality has no bearing on her ability to perform her duties as an officer and nurse."


Lambda Legal submitted an amicus brief to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of Major Witt.


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Tika Milan 212-809-8585 ext 223; Email: tmilan@lambdalegal.org

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