Cox Commission Recommends Repeal of Military Sodomy Statute
Military Watchdog Group Hails Recommendation Made to
Servicemembers Legal Defense
Network, May 30, 2001
For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Ralls
(202) 328-3244, ext. 116
Washington DC Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) today hailed
the recommendation of a commission reviewing the Uniform Code of Military
Justice (UCMJ) to repeal the military sodomy statute, also known as Article
125. Calling military sodomy prosecutions "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 and in Title 18 of the United States Code. The
commission published its findings today in commemoration of the fiftieth
anniversary of the UCMJ. The commissions report is the first comprehensive
review of the UCMJ since its enactment in 1951.
C. Dixon Osburn, Executive Director of SLDN, praised the commissions
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s sodomy law is antiquated and should be repealed."
SLDN submitted comments to the commission urging it to recommend repeal of
Article 125. Sharra E. Greer, SLDNs Legal Director, represented SLDN at a
public hearing held by the commission on March 13, 2001. Greer stated,
"Article 125 is a throwback to English common law that has long since
been abandoned by the militaries of the original NATO countries, including
Great Britain, on whose law ours relies."
The commissions 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 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.
A copy of the report is available online at http://www.sldn.org.
# # #
SLDN is an independent national legal aid and watchdog organization that
assists men and women in the military who face witch hunts, death threats,
harassment and discharge under "Dont Ask, Dont Tell, Dont
Pursue, Dont Harass." SLDN has directly assisted more than 2,700
military members. For copies of SLDNs Seventh Annual Report on "Dont
Ask, Dont Tell, Dont Pursue, Dont Harass" please visit SLDNs
web site at www.sldn.org.
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