Last edited: February 14, 2005

Changes In Uniform Code of Military Justice Loom

Focus on The Family, June 21, 2001

By Mark Cowan, correspondent

SUMMARY: Those people who complain that our military is more concerned with social engineering than defending our shores have another reason to worry. An independent commission is recommending the Pentagon drop sodomy and adultery charges from the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

The panel, made up of former military lawyers and judges, suggests dropping the charges because they claim that adultery and sodomy are normally committed by consenting and, often, married adults.

David Sommers, who heads the Non-Commissioned Officers Association, said this recommendation uses the military to undertake yet another societal degradation.

"It started with the homosexual issue (which) in my opinion has been forced (upon the military) . . . and now we’ve got this. It’s very disturbing," Sommers said.

Campbell University law professor and former Army legal officer William Woodruff said the commission wants to make military and civilian justice more alike.

"As the military becomes less a combat force and more of a peacekeeping force, the needs and justifications for these unique rules to support unit cohesion so soldiers lay down their lives for one another becomes less and less important," Woodruff said.

Col. Ron Ray, a former deputy assistant to the secretary of defense, sees it differently.

"This is a deliberately designed and direct attack on the first principle of American military service, which required virtue and honor and patriotism among all leaders as an example," Ray said.

Other recommended changes in the UCMJ include: setting up a fund to pay for civilian lawyers in death penalty cases, and reducing the influence of commanding officers over court-martials.

An attempt was made to water down adultery charges during the Clinton administration, but critics used the Marine Corps motto "Semper Fidelis" — always faithful — as an effective argument against the change. The policy remained intact, but it appears the victory was short- lived.

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