McChord Nurse's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Case Scheduled for Trial 20 Months Into Obama's First Term

On the campaign trail, Barack Obama said he was opposed to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) policy towards gay soldiers. The nation can't afford to lose good servicepeople over such nonsense, he argued, leading to hopes that he'd scrap it on the quick. Well, not quick enough to save another round in court for Air Force Major Margaret Whitt, a decorated flight nurse from McChord Air Force base who got the boot for being gay--18 years into her service, and just 2 years before she'd qualify for retirement benefits.

But Whitt's case is still alive: In May 2008, a panel from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (the court of Seattleite Betty Fletcher, who was recently profiled by Nina Shapiro and who dissented against DADT in 1997) ruled that the military must show how the dismissal of Whitt, who was in charge of flight nurse training at her base, would further the military's goals of unit cohesion and combat readiness. As a result, she was just granted a trial date in September, 2010. In the meantime, Major Whitt, know that the president totally offers his moral support.

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