Last edited: May 15, 2004

Letters: Is This Really Uniform Justice?

Washington 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 to heterosexuals.

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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