Letters: Is This Really Uniform Justice?
Post, December 17, 2003
1150 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20071
Wade Markel [letters, Dec. 10] argued that the military
has its hands tied as far as revising its “don’t ask, don’t tell”
policy, because “sodomy” is a criminal act, according to the laws that
govern military conduct. The armed forces may indeed have a compelling
interest to regulate sexual activity among troops, but the problem with
“don’t ask, don’t tell” is not its scrutiny of sexual behavior, but
its punishment of the mere act of self-identification. Apparently Mr. Markel
feels that to identify oneself as gay is to engage in “sodomy” as well.
Whatever definition of this ambiguous, medieval term is
used, any number of gay men and women (both military and civilian) could
refute Mr. Markel’s staggering presumption—which is, however, less
staggering than the military’s continued exemption from full participation
in American society after Lawrence v. Texas.
–Jim Steichen, Washington
In his letter about the discharge of linguists from the
military on the basis of sexual orientation, Wade Markel noted that the
Uniform Code of Military Justice criminalizes sodomy and concluded that the
“issue of law” requires such a discharge.
However, the code explicitly criminalizes both same-sex
and opposite-sex sodomy, and yet we never hear of similar punishment accorded
If the military enforces one part of the law, while
winking at another, the reason cannot be to preserve the rule of law.
–David J. Edmondson, Alexandria
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