Judge: Air Force's firing of lesbian flight nurse not justified

A U.S. district judge has ordered the Air Force to reinstate a veteran flight nurse who was dismissed in 2004 because she's a lesbian, dealing another blow to the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military.

The military wasn't justified in firing Margaret Witt, U.S. District Court Judge Ronald B. Leighton ruled Friday at the federal courthouse in Tacoma.

Witt was fired in 2004 after 18 years of service. The decorated flight nurse challenged her dismissal, arguing it infringed on her constitutional rights.

Attorneys for the Air Force argued during the trial that all regulations in the military — including those involving gays and lesbians — must be enforced uniformly to maintain order and morale. Their key witness was Lt. Gen. Charles E. Stenner, chief of the Air Force Reserve. "If you apply the rules consistently, then all is well," he said.

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