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Everyone in America deserves equal treatment under the law regardless of sexual orientation, including the right to marry the partner of your choice. The ACLU works for equal rights and legal protections against discrimination and harassment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

Topic Resources

Published: 
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Schools must protect students from harassment, and if they don’t, the federal government will have something to say about it.  That was the message sent by the White House and the Department of Education on October 26th when they issued new guidance designed to make clear that schools have a legal duty to protect students from harassment under existing federal civil rights statutes. Read more
News Release, Published: 
Friday, September 24, 2010
U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Leighton has ordered the Air Force to reinstate Major Margaret Witt, a decorated flight nurse who had been dismissed under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. After six days of trial, the Court found that Major Witt’s sexual orientation does not negatively impact unit morale or cohesion.  ACLU of Washington attorneys have directly represented Major Witt since her case began in 2006.
Published: 
Friday, September 24, 2010
Today, in Federal District Court, Judge Ronald Leighton ordered that the Air Force reinstate Major Margaret Witt, a dedicated flight nurse that had been dismissed under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. This is an exciting moment for everyone who believes in equality and an important advance in the fight to end discrimination against LGBT Americans in the military and in society at large. Perhaps most importantly, it is also a homecoming.
Published: 
Thursday, September 23, 2010
The landmark trial of Maj. Margaret Witt wrapped up yesterday, and Judge Ronald B. Leighton announced that he will deliver his decision this Friday at 1:30 PM PDT. Read more
Published: 
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Testimony from former members of Maj. Witt’s unit, the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, filled the third day of the trial. Leading off was Jill Robinson, who spent 23 years in the Air Force. Inspiring her service was a recruiting poster for the Air Force Reserves that featured Maj. Witt on the cover. Read more
Published: 
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Day 2 of Witt v. Air Force started with testimony from Darren Manzella, who served in the Army for six years as a health care specialist after enlisting in 2002 and was twice deployed to the Middle East. His testimony focused on the need for honesty about oneself in building a team, saying “In the military, trust is essential.” Read more
Published: 
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
“Dynamic officer” … “A vital team player” …”Exceptional flight nurse” … “Excellent role model” … “Always ready to support the mission.” ACLU of Washington Legal Director Sarah Dunne led off her opening argument with these words from Air Force performance reviews for Major Margaret Witt at different times. Read more
Published: 
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
After opening statements, Jim Schaffer, current Spokane Fire Department Captain and former 446th unit member, began his testimony. Before retiring from the Air Force in 2006, he and Major Witt served on the same flight crew on a number of missions and were deployed together a number of times. Schaffer spoke about Mjr. Witt’s stellar career and told stories of how her calm, cool, and collected nature, plus with her ability to include all team members, help their team succeed and save lives. He told of a particular occasion where a Dept. of Defense civilian went into cardiac arrest while aboard a plane, and Maj. Witt’s ability to accurately assess the situation made sure that the person survived. Read more
Published: 
Friday, August 13, 2010
Last week, Air Force Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach filed a high-profile lawsuit arguing that the Air Force should be forced to meet the "Witt standard" if it attempts to discharge him from military service under Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT). The "Witt standard" comes from a significant 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in an ACLU of Washington case, Witt v. U.S. Air Force, in which the court ruled that the Air Force must prove that dismissing a specific servicemember under DADT is necessary to ensure “good order, morale, and discipline” within the unit he or she served, rather than simply proving in a more general way that DADT broadly advances military readiness. With that requirement of proof, the “Witt standard” was born. Read more
Published: 
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
This morning, a co-worker sent around an amazing video clip from last night. Not being a late-night television watcher, I missed the earth-shaking revelation that it shows. Bill O’Reilly (an avowed believer that the ACLU is terrorist organization) and the ACLU agreed on something! Watch the video

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