Last edited: November 08, 2003

Sodomy Ruling Brings Military Challenges

Focus on the Family, August 5, 2003

By Stuart Shepard, correspondent

SUMMARY: The legal ripples from the Supreme Court’s landmark case involving sodomy laws in Texas are now spreading into courtrooms across the country. One major target is the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

Under attack through separate court cases are the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and the military’s criminal penalty for sodomy. Each case cites the recent Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas for support.

Kelly Shackelford, president of the Free Market Foundation in Texas, said nobody thought the Lawrence case was about the sodomy law.

“It was about homosexual activists trying to get new weapons to use in their advocating of all kinds of homosexual rights,” Shackelford said.

He doesn’t see how the Lawrence case lends credence to the current challenges.

“Number one: This is the military and great deference is shown to the military” to make its own rules, Shackelford said. “And secondly: You obviously can’t conduct a military very efficiently if the soldiers are engaging in sexual activity with one another.”

Bob Maginnis, a Fox News military analyst and retired Army lieutenant colonel, said previous gay challenges to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” have lost in six of the appellate courts. The citing of the Texas case is just part of that ongoing attempt to get the issue before the Supreme Court.

“The justification for banning homosexuals was always based on unit cohesion and not on whether or not someone engaged in an illegal behavior. It was assumed that people who engaged in an illegal behavior would be dealt with by the criminal statutes,” Maginnis said.

He should know; he helped write the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Maginnis further points out that the military’s official ban on homosexuals doesn’t even mention sodomy.

The Supreme Court’s Lawrence v. Texas ruling has also been cited by two men seeking to be married in Arizona, and a Gay-Straight Alliance club wanting access to a public school in Texas.

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