When in the military you are governed by a different set of rules than the average citizen, called the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or UCMJ for short. The section of the UCMJ specifically regarding the code of conduct of a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine with regards to "homosexuality" is UCMJ Article 125 - Sodomy. The UCMJ, as taught during basic training, is a higher standard to which enlisted men and officers must hold themselves as representatives of the United States Military. It is a series of strict guidelines, restricting how you talk (no swearing), how you dress, how you organize your closet, etc. It is difficult for non-military individuals to understand the pride and honor that is supposed to go into being in the military - the honor of serving in the defense of the states. Orders like "Don't ask, don't tell" encourage deceit in the face of the UCMJ, and should absolutely be stricken down.
However, this does not come without a cost - which brings me back to the Article 125 issue. The wording of 125 is as follows:
“TEXT: (a) Any person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex or with an animal is guilty of sodomy. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the offense.In general, the "offense" of the homosexual soldier is Sodomy - an act that is defined as openly and morally depraved - including oral and anal sex of all manners. Such conduct, in regards to the UCMJ, is less than honorable, and worthy of punishment.
(b) Any person found guilty of sodomy shall by punished as a court-martial may direct.”
(1) That the accused engaged in unnatural carnal copulation with a certain other person or with an animal. (Note: Add either or both of the following elements, if applicable)
(2) That the act was done with a child under the age of 16.
(3) That the act was done by force and without the consent of the other person.
It is unnatural carnal copulation for a person to take into that person’s mouth or anus the sexual organ of another person or of an animal; or to place that person’s sexual organ in the mouth or anus of another person or of an animal; or to have carnal copulation in any opening of the body, except the sexual parts, with another person; or to have carnal copulation with an animal.
Lesser included offenses.
(1) With a child under the age of 16.
(a) Article 125—forcible sodomy (and offenses included therein; see subparagraph (2) below)
(b) Article 134—indecent acts with a child under 16
(c) Article 80—attempts
(2) Forcible sodomy.
(a) Article 125—sodomy (and offenses included therein; see subparagraph (3) below)
(b) Article 134—assault with intent to commit sodomy
(c) Article 134—indecent assault
(d) Article 80—attempts.
(a) Article 134—indecent acts with another: Explanation."Indecent" signifies that form of immorality relating to sexual impurity which is not only grossly vulgar, obscene, and repugnant to common propriety, but tends to excite lust and deprave the morals with respect to sexual relations.
(b) Article 80—attempts
(1) By force and without consent. Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for life without eligibility for parole.
(2) With a child who, at the time of the offense, has attained the age of 12 but is under the age of 16 years. Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 20 years.
(3) With a child under the age of 12 years at the time of the offense. Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for life without eligibility for parole.
(4) Other cases. Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 5 years"
My question is this: to what standards do we hold our men and women who serve? Should they encourage depraved acts of purely carnal pleasure, or should the military uphold sodomy laws during terms of service - demanding a higher standard of self control in what is right or not?
Of course, our society now openly embraces oral sex, anal sex, freaky this, and sexy that... commercials are Cialis followed by Victoria Secret followed by Viagra... there are low rise jeans, low V shirts, wonder bras, and "Go Daddy" ads... We are a sexually charged, uncontrolled, and sexually addicted society. Don't believe me? Where Playboy and Hustler were the "Taboo" of my youth, children today are barraged with free online hardcore sexual images and videos - one being so bold at one point to obtain the domain name "whitehouse.com" (as opposed to whitehouse.gov) which lead you to explicit images (this site has since been removed - I ran across this one at age 17). Every aspect of marketing and entertainment drive toward the carnal sexual desire.
Do we lower our expectations of our military men and women? Do we encourage acts of sodomy? Do we care? Do we hold ourselves to any standard, or does it not matter? Does carnal pleasure lead to evils of one sort or another? Does current conduct of military personnel indicate an adherence to sodomy laws? Are those military laws simply outdated?
There are a few points that need to be addressed for the sake of this argument - so please let me round this up:
1. You cannot simply repeal DADT without addressing the UCMJ guidelines on Sodomy. What is the military law is the military law - DADT was a 'verbal' order to ignore certain parts of the written military law. Should the UCMJ be changed?
2. There is a double standard - that which the "market" expects of us (sexual desire) and that which the UCMJ expects of the soldiers. Should we hold our service personnel to a higher moral standard than that of the sexually charged civilian populace?
3. Our enlisted men now perform acts of sodomy, and more. There are soldiers who target married women, and those who have the pictures to prove it (both in violation of UCMJ). There are those in civilian life who do the same. Does living a "carnal" lifestyle in private adversely affect one's ability to perform job functions?
4. There is no doubt that our society has changed over the last 234 years with regards, specifically, to sexual promiscuity - from both sexes. Do we hinder ourselves by adhering to "arcane" laws such as those pertaining to Sodomy, or is this the last shred of sexual moral fiber to which we should hold ever more tightly?
The problem with repealing DADT is not so much the act of allowing gays in the military as it is asking the military to lower the standard code of conduct to allow that which was once regarded as 'moral depravity'. Should the military be expected to control the sexual desires and conduct of those in service to this degree?
In this great experiment in liberty, at what point do we define (and subsequently redefine) morality?
Repealing DADT is easy to say, and easy to do - the simple stroke of a pen. But rewriting the UCMJ's Sodomy laws... what does that say about how far we've come...