100 Women We Love: Class of 2011

photo by Courtesy of the ACLU of Washington
Margaret Witt

Throughout her 18-year career in the Air Force, Major Margaret Witt had a spotless record. She was awarded an Air Medal endorsed by President George W. Bush for providing outstanding medical care in the Middle East, and in 2003 she received a medal for saving the life of a Defense Department employee. The following year, she was placed on unpaid leave due to alleged homosexual conduct and two years later was formally dismissed. For seven years, Witt and the ACLU of Washington fought a legal battle resulting in the landmark ruling known as “the Witt standard,” which states that before a soldier could be discharged under DADT, the government had to prove the individual’s conduct hurt morale. In May 2011, Witt was finally awarded full retirement benefits and the unlawful discharge was removed from her record. “It has been my honor to fight for the freedom of all to serve, and to have been a part of such a momentous court battle with the ACLU and finally the long-awaited repeal of DADT,” she said. Witt is pursuing her Ph.D. while working as Rehab Coordinator at the Veterans Administration hospital in Spokane, WA. –DP