Last edited: February 14, 2005

US Military Told to Drop Sodomy, May 31, 2001

By Paul Johnson

Most states in the US are slowly dropping laws against sodomy. But, it is still illegal in the military.

A commission reviewing the Uniform Code of Military Justice has recommended the statute be repealed. Calling enforcement of the law "arbitrary, even vindictive," the Cox Commission recommended that Congress repeal the statute and replace it with a statute governing sexual abuse similar to laws adopted by many states

Headed by Judge Walter Cox, the commission’s recommendations have been forwarded to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who has ordered a comprehensive review of Pentagon personnel policies. The report will also be shared with the Chairman and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Committees on Armed Services and to the Code Committee on Military Justice

The Servicemembers Legal Defence Network hailed the report. SLDN director C. Dixon Osburn, praised the commission’s recommendation. "The commission is appropriately urging Congress to step into the present and do right by our men and women in uniform. The military ‘s sodomy law is antiquated and should be repealed."

The commission was sponsored by the National Institute of Military Justice in coordination with The George Washington University Law School. The members of the commission, in addition to Judge Cox, include Rear Admiral John S. Jenkins, JAGC, USN (Ret.), Senior Associate Dean at The George Washington University Law School; Professor Mary M. Cheh, also of The George Washington University Law School; Captain Guy R. Abbate, Jr., JAGC, USN (Ret.), senior instructor at the Naval Justice School; and Lieutenant Colonel Frank J. Spinner, USAF (Ret.), a private practitioner of military law.

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