The hypocrisy of Tony Perkins, General Pace, and the FRC Blog

Today Tony Perkins posted an ill-informed blog entry at the Family Research Council blog in support of USMC General Peter Pace, the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

General Pace was quoted in the Chicago Tribune as calling homosexuality immoral. From that article:
Responding to a question about a Clinton-era policy that is coming under renewed scrutiny amid fears of future U.S. troop shortages, Pace said the Pentagon should not "condone" immoral behavior by allowing gay soldiers to serve openly. He said his views were based on his personal "upbringing," in which he was taught that certain types of conduct are immoral.

"I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts," Pace said in a wide-ranging discussion with Tribune editors and reporters in Chicago. "I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way.

"As an individual, I would not want [acceptance of gay behavior] to be our policy, just like I would not want it to be our policy that if we were to find out that so-and-so was sleeping with somebody else's wife, that we would just look the other way, which we do not. We prosecute that kind of immoral behavior," Pace said.
Tony Perkins went on in the FRC blog to say:
Many Americans do not know that military personnel have a separate set of laws that govern their conduct; it is called the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Under the UCMJ homosexual behavior, like adultery, is criminal. It is immoral.

As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Pace should not have to apologize for defending the law; rather, he should be applauded for upholding it. We urge his colleagues and the administration to resist the urge to retreat and instead follow his brave leadership.
What Mr. Perkins and General Pace are both missing is that Military customs are built on tradition, as is military law. Military law is very conservative, and very resistant to change over time. Military laws are rooted in America’s more Puritan heritage, and include some things that perhaps the non-military person doesn’t know.

For example, did you know that it was against the UCMJ for a soldier to have sex with his or her spouse in any way that is NOT genital to genital intercourse? This falls under the UCMJ Sodomy law, which was last updated in 1956:
Sec. 925. Art. 125. Sodomy

(a) Any person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex or with an animal is guilty of sodomy. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the offense.
(b) Any person found guilty of sodomy shall be punished as a court martial may direct.
That’s not clear enough? Let’s examine the Manual for Courts-Martial (2005 edition) page IV-79 (PDF link):
c. Explanation. It is unnatural carnal copulation for a person to take into that person’s mouth or anus the sexual organ of another person or of an animal; or to place that person’s sexual organ in the mouth or anus of another person or of an animal; or to have carnal copulation in any opening of the body, except the sexual parts, with another person; or to have carnal copulation with an animal.

e. Maximum punishment.

(4) Other cases. Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 5 years.
The Manual for Courts-Martial specifically includes fellatio and cunnilingus between married heterosexual partners to be in violation of Article 125. (It’s on page A23-15).

What does General Peter Pace think of Article 125 as applied to married couples? Would he consider Fellatio and cunnilingus between a married couple to be immoral, not to be condoned, unlawful?

How would he police such a thing?

Military marriages break down, and sometimes they get very ugly. With very little effort, a civilian spouse can cause a great deal of harm to the military spouse, just by stretching the truth, or by lying. But here during divorce proceedings the civilian spouse can truthfully accuse the military spouse of repeated violations of Article 125 – the military spouse would suffer the repercussions, while the civilian spouse would not be charged.

Would General Pace rule against a military member who, along with his or her spouse, admitted to fellatio or cunnilingus, also known in the military as "Sodomy"? Would the Gene
ral, if he sat on the courts-martial, toss the military member into Ft. Leavenworth for 5 years?

I know what some of you might be thinking – what a married couple does together, consensually, in the privacy of their home, should not be a concern to the military. And you’re right – the military doesn’t usually break into soldier’s bedrooms. But what if they did?

When I lived in a military duplex on the Marine Corps base in Barstow, I had problems with my next door neighbor, a Marine, who played loud music late into the night. Knocking on his door and telling him to turn it down didn’t stop it. But calling the Marine MPs did!

I was forced to call the Marine MPs twice on my neighbor. He started to retaliate by calling the Marine MPs on me and reporting “domestic disturbance.” This led to comical encounters where the MPs knocked on my door to find me and my wife folding clothing, or quietly watching a movie. After the third false call, (and the third time I cheerfully invited the MPs into my home and let them check us out) the MPs figured things out and had a word with my neighbor. All shenanigans stopped after that. (Well, there was this thing about my neighbor’s dog, but I’ll leave that for a later story.)

My point is that military cops can get called on a married couple at any time, especially when that couple lives in Base Housing. And if that couple is having a great ti
me in the bedroom, it may be hard for a military police person to distinguish the difference between exuberant sex and a real domestic problem.

Something like this happened in an apartment in Houston Texas in September 1998. Someone with a grudge against his next door neighbors called the cops and falsely accused the neighbors of having a gun and “going crazy.” The cops got to the apartment in question, and when they found the door unlocked they went in and caught two gay men having sex. Since sodomy was (at that time) unlawful in Texas, they arrested the two men and hauled them off to jail.

The case went to court, and eventually wound up at the US Supreme Court, where in a 6-3 ruling "Lawrence v. Texas" was ruled in the appellants’ favor. The wider implication of this ruling includes invalidating similar laws in other states, and (in theory) offers pr
otection for other forms of sexual activity between consenting adults.

The US Supreme Court opinion in Lawrence V. Texas held that sex between consenting adults should be defined by how intimate and personal the act is between those adults, and not defined by tradition, procreation, or marriage. This very wise ruling takes into account those married couples who are not able to have “traditional” or “procreative” sex due to injury or disability. It takes into account those couples who are not married by law, but who still act as a family. And it uses the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to apply the law equally throughout the United States.

Except in the Military.

General Peter Pace is in a bad spot here. He must continue to uphold Articl
e 125, and apply it equally to married heterosexual couples, and to homosexual military members. The sodomy law must be applied equally in the military or it could face a Fourteenth Amendment challenge.

I do not recall any famous military courts-martial that involved married heterosexual, consensual fellatio or cunnilingus. My hunch is that any such case had Article 125 charges quietly dropped – especially now in the aftermath of the Lawrence V. Texas decision.

Of course this makes hypocrites out of people like General Pace and Tony Perkins because they do not howl about the current military epidemic of fellatio and cunnilingus in the married ranks. This is also "sodomy" according to the UCMJ. Military members must consider carefully their own glass houses before throwing stones of condemnation at those who practice homosexual "sodomy". In my opinion, this is the greater immorality.

I don’t think a military courts-martial involving a homosexual military member would ever overturn the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military law. I believe that a challenge to Article 125 by a married military couple might be the wedge that brings down this outdated, homophobic law.

But I’ll bet the military would never prosecute a case of fellatio or cunnilingus between a married couple, no matter how badly they were caught “in flagrante delicto”.


Anonymous said...

so you think General Pace has to apologize for calling gay people immoral? maybe allow them to serve?

Anonymous said...

I really don't care about Gen. Pace's personal feelings about what is "moral". I do expect him to treat people equally, which includes equally enforcing Article 125, both toward gay and heterosexual couples in the military.

That he does not do so, that no one in the military structure (all the way to the Commander in Chief) sees fit to impose article 125 equally only goes to show the inherit hypocrisy, and therefore immorality, of their position.

You want to use Article 125 to kick out the gays? Fine. Then use it to kick out the heterosexuals who also abuse it - any other position on this subject is immoral

Victory said...

In answer to Anonymous.


Calladus said...

Update to this post.

The updated Manual for Courts Martial has now recognized that fellatio or cunnilingus between married couples, where one or both are military members, is no longer punishable under Article 125.

However, unmarried heterosexual couples, where one or both is a military member, may still be charged under article 125 for committing acts of sodomy, including fellatio or cunnilingus.