Armed forces personnel who compile distinguished records â Air Force Maj. Margaret Witt, for example â acquire a colorful array of ribbons that commemorate their accomplishments.
Witt, of Spokane, was a decorated flight nurse until last fall when the military kicked her out, despite an exemplary record, because she is a lesbian. This week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled such automatic discharges out of line.
For now, the ruling only keeps Witt’s case alive, but eventually it could be the undoing of the Defense Department’s institutional hangup over sexual orientation.
If communities earned military-style decorations to reflect their proudest moments, Spokane’s might range from the U.S Figure Skating Championships to Expo ‘74. From Bing Crosby to the Chad Mitchell Trio. From John Stockton to Patrice Munsel.
Bloomsday. Hoopfest. Heck, Father’s Day began here.
Now, a Spokane woman’s campaign for justice might become the instrument that finally overturns the Pentagon’s narrow-minded and shortsighted “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. If so, Spokane should have an honored place reserved on its civic tunic to proclaim its pride in Maj. Witt’s courage and perseverance.