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Houston Voice, April 29, 2005
File 007
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Houston Voice, April 29, 2005 - File 007. 2005-04-29. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. December 16, 2017. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/3005/show/2986.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(2005-04-29). Houston Voice, April 29, 2005 - File 007. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/3005/show/2986

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Voice, April 29, 2005 - File 007, 2005-04-29, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed December 16, 2017, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/3005/show/2986.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Voice, April 29, 2005
Contributor
  • Crain, Chris
  • Fisher, Binnie
Publisher Window Media
Date April 29, 2005
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 31485329
Rights In Copyright: This item is protected by copyright. Copyright to this resource is held by the creator or current rights holder, and the resource is provided here for educational purposes. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without permission of the copyright owner. Users assume full responsibility for any infringement of copyright or related rights.
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 007
Transcript 6 APRIL 29.2005 www.houstonvoice.com HOUSTON VOICE national news Pentagon weighs changing sodomy law Activists see a first step to reversing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell' By LOU CHIBBARO JR. WASHINGTON — President Bush must give final approval through an executive order to enable the Pentagon to preserve its policy of criminalizing consensual sodomy among military service members, according to attorneys familiar with military law. The Department of Defense has been deliberating over whether its military sodomy law could be retained since 2003, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down state sodomy laws on grounds that they infringe on the constitutional right of adult citizens to engage in private, consensual sex. The military has claimed the law banning sodomy is its main justification for not allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly Most legal experts have said the Supreme Court ruling, which was hailed by gay rights attorneys, applies equally to the military and the civilian population. The DOD disclosed its strategy for retaining its sodomy prohibition in the wake of the Lawrence vs. Texas decision on April 7, when it sent Congress a proposed amendment to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the statute that contains the military's sodomy law. The DOD also sent Congress a proposed change to its Manual for Courts-Martial, which has served as a set of regulations the DOD has used to implement various provisions in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, known as the UCMJ. Gay activists initially praised the proposed changes after the New York Times reported last week that they called for removing the prohibition of consensual sodomy from the UCMJ. But a DOD spokesperson quickly contradicted the Times report, saying the DOD plans to retain consensual sodomy as a crime by moving it from one section of the UCMJ to another, and making it a regulatory offense in the court martial manual. Changes called a shell game' The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a gay litigation group, called the proposed changes a "shell game" that would not stand up to a legal challenge under the Lawrence decision. SLDN noted that at least two m il itary appeals court rulings have c ited the Lawrence decision, with one overturning a military sodomy conviction last December and another curtailing the military's enforcement of its sodomy law in August 2004. "Pentagon leaders cannot run and hide from the Constitution," said Sharra Greer, SLDN's director of policy and law. In its proposed changes, the DOD calls for moving the sodomy prohibition from Article 125 of the UCMJ, which is considered a section of the military's criminal law, to the UCMJ's Article 134. Article 134, among other things, addresses matters pertaining to con- President Bush must issue an executive order for the military to move its laws against sodomy in an effort to avoid having the ban overturned by courts. duct considered "prejudicial to good order and discipline" among service members. Provisions under Article 134 are enforced through the DOD's Manual for Courts- Martial. Changes to the manual are considered to be regulatory in nature and are not specifically part of the UCMJ. However, they must be put in place by the president, with the approval of Congress, the DOD told United Press International on Monday President Clinton issued two separate executive orders changing the DOD Manual for Courts-Martial in ways that supported gay rights. One of his changes created a provision to prosecute hate crimes. The other change prevented the military from investigating service members for being gay if information about their sexual orientation surfaced in a routine background check for a security clearance. Tara Andringa, a spokesperson for Senator Cari Levin (D-Mich.), the ranking minority member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said it is widely believed among Capitol Hill observers that Bush will agree to issue an executive order retaining the military's sodomy prohibition. Andringa noted that the DOD most likely sent its recommendations to Congress calling for the changes needed to preserve the military sodomy prohibition with the approval of the White House. She said Levin, who has been a critic of some of the Bush administration's military policies, has not yet commented on the proposal to retain the military's sodomy prohibition. A spokesperson for Senator John Warner (R-Va.), chairperson of the Armed Services panel, did not respond to a Blade inquiry by press time. Warner is considered one of the most influential members of Congress on military matters. Gay rights attorneys believe the outcome of the military's sodomy law is important because it has been cited by military lenders are a key reason for prohibiting gays from serving openly in the military under the Pentagon's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy That policy, which President Clinton proposed in 1993 and Congress enacted into law, holds that gays are unsuitable for military service, in part, because they engage in conduct deemed illegal under the UCMJ's sodomy clause. Attorneys for SLDN and the national gay group Log Cabin Republicans have fUed separate lawsuits challenging the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on a variety of grounds, including that the Lawrence decision makes the military's laws against sodomy obsolete. In December 2004, the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals ruled in a case known as United States vs. Bullock that a guilty plea by a soldier who admitted to engaging in consensual sodomy with an adult female in his private barracks quarters should be overturned. The Army appeals court cited the Lawrence decision and an August 2004 decision by the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces known as the U.S. vs. Marcum. The Marcum decision held that the Supreme Court's Lawrence ruling restricted the military's ability to prosecute for consensual sodomy except for the set of exceptions listed in Lawrence. The exceptions allow states to continue to prosecute for sodomy if the sexual relations in question do not involve consent, take place in public, include sexual activity with minors, involve prostitution, and involve "relationships in which consent may not be easily refused." Different standards for military But the Marcum decision went one step beyond the Lawrence exceptions by holding that military prosecution for consensual sodomy would be allowed if it could be shown that the conduct in question should be prohibited "based on a particular military necessity" The decision did not specify what such a military necessity would be. Pentagon officials have argued in the past that earlier Supreme Court rulings have recognized that the military in some instances has the authority to restrict certain rights of service members, even though such restrictions could not be applied to civilians. A DOD spokesperson did not return calls by press time seeking comment on the DOD's legal rationale for retaining its prohibition against consensual sodomy UPI quoted two unnamed Pentagon officials as saying the DOD believes it can get around the Lawrence decision by moving the sodomy prohibition to the DOD's Manual on Courts Martial. "That is why the move in location was made, and thereby (we) avoid continued constitutional attacks against 'sodomy' charges brought under Article 125, UCMJ," the UPI quoted an unidentified Pentagon official as saying. "A general statute (in the Manual) would continue to criminalize private, adult, consensual, non-commercial sodomy" UPI quoted another unnamed official as saying. According to UPI, one of the Pentagon officials believes the Armed Forces Court of Appeals would most likely uphold future convictions for consensual sodomy if such convictions are backed by "facts and circumstances establishing the military's interest concerning conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline or service-discrediting" conduct. Steve Ralls of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network said military appeals courts would likely uphold a sodomy conviction under certain circumstances pertaining to the military such as a case where an officer engaged in consensual sodomy with an enlisted person — a practice that is prohibited among heterosexuals in the military However, Ralls said SLDN believes courts in the future will cite the Lawrence decision to strike down military convictions for consensual sodomy that don't involve circumstances that apply to all types of sexual relations, such as an officer having sex with an enlisted person. "The military is playing a shell game to try to avoid having to comply with Lawrence," Ralls said. "Putting it in Article 134 doesn't change things." Ralls said SLDN would prefer that Congress and the White House reject the DOD proposals and direct the Pentagon to comply with Lawrence decision. But he acknowledged that most Capitol Hill observers believe the Republican controlled Congress will back the DOD request, just as they expect Congress to bottle up in committee a pending bill seeking to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law Rep. Wayne Gilchrist (R-Md.) signed on as a co-sponsor to the repeal bill this week, becoming the fourth House Republican to do so. As of earlier this month, 70 House Democrats had signed on as co-sponsors to the bill.
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