Case Results

Since August of 2001, when McSally sued the government, some policy changes have occurred. Once she filed the lawsuit, she embarked on a series of interviews to raise awarrness about the issue and generate political pressure on the Defense Department. In January of this year, the military amended the policy so that women are "strongly encouraged," but no longer required to wear the abaya when they leave the base. In February, the requirements banning women from sitting in the front seat and leaving the base unescorted were dropped, but are still strongly encouaged. McSally's tour ended last December and she is now stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, in Tucson, Arizona. She now supervises fifteen enlisted personnel who could be deployed as ground support for an air war. McSally is still committed to the Air Force until December 2003. She hopes that when her service is complete she'll be remembered as a "dedicated officer and warrior--and a woman who stood up for her beliefs".



Since McSally's interview with Cynthia Hanson took place, her case has been in court yet again. McSally's compelling story "The fight of my life" written by Cynthia Hanson can be read in the May 2002 issue of Ladies Home Journal. On Wednesday, April 24, McSally's case was back in court. The government argued that her case should be dropped based on the fact that certain policies have already been amended (wording changed from "mandatory" to "strongly encouraged"). However, the Rutherford Institute says that, "The language still presents concerns about coercion of female military personnel". The Institute's attorneys also point out, "that the government still continues to purchase and issue Muslim garb for American servicewomen, a clear violation of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause". John Whitehead, founder of the Rutherford institute says, "In military culture, 'strongly encouraged' is perceived as tantamount to a direct order, allowing the Department of Defense to continue its discriminatory policy under another name".

John W. Whitehead