Last edited: December 19, 2004

Representative Barney Frank Calls For Decriminalization of Consensual Sex in The Military

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, June 18, 1997
For Immediate Release

Contact: Julia Adams (202) 328-3244

WASHINGTON, DC-In the wake of several heterosexual adultery scandals that have claimed the careers of Lieutenant Kelly Flinn and General Longhauser, and cost the appointment of General Ralston to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Representative Barney Frank introduced legislation today calling for an end to the criminalization of consensual, adult sexual activities that do not include abuse of authority.

The recent heterosexual adultery scandals have lead to claims that these provisions are obsolete and applied arbitrarily. A report issued by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) on February 26, 1997, for example, concluded that some military commanders continue to selectively prosecute gay and lesbian servicemembers for consensual, adult sexual activities. SLDN has urged the Department of Defense to take steps to end the unevenhanded treatment of lesbians and gays serving our country.

The legislation introduced by Representative Frank, called the Anti-Hypocrisy Act, would modify provisions under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including Articles 125, 133 and 134, that currently regulate consensual adult sexual activities.

Article 125 criminalizes sodomy, including oral sex between consenting, married heterosexuals. Article 133 and 134 are called the "General Articles," and are used to regulate a variety of consensual sexual behaviors that commanders determine bring discredit to the armed services. Acts prosecuted under these Articles include adultery and the vague "indecent acts."

C. Dixon Osburn, Co-Executive Director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), stated "For rules to be respected, they must be clear, consistent and reasonable. These rules fail these tests. Officers are treated differently than enlisted personnel. Women are treated differently than men. Gays are treated differently than heterosexuals."

"Moreover, these rules are archaic and should be modified," stated Michelle M. Benecke, Co-Director of SLDN. "These regulations have lead to a military peep show where commanders justify policing the bedroom to target people they don’t like. Representative Frank’s legislation is a good first step in bringing some sense and sanity back to the military’s sexual conduct regulations."

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