Armed Services Panel Dem: Repeal Bestiality Ban, It's Not ‘Relevant To One’s Conduct as a Military Officer’

December 14, 2011 - 1:59 PM

(CNSNews.com) -- Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told CNSNews.com that he supports repealing the military's ban against sodomy and bestiality because, while he does not condone these practices, he does not think whether someone engages in these behaviors is "relevant to one's conduct as a military officer or an enlisted person."

On Capitol Hill on Tuesday, CNSNews.com asked Andrews: "Did you know that the Senate Version of the Defense Authorization Bill,  it includes a provision which repeals Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice--that's the law against sodomy and bestiality--a provision not in the House Bill. Are you aware of that?”

Andrews said: “I am aware of that, yeah.”

When asked whether he thought that provision should be in the final version of the legislation, Andrews said he believes Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice should be repealed.

"Repealing the provision against sodomy and bestiality in the commercial, uh, in the military code? Yeah, I do think we should repeal that in the military code," he said.

"I think--I don't condone either practice,” he said, “but I don't think either practice is really relevant to one's conduct as a military officer or an enlisted person. So, I think if there are instances of that, they’re better dealt with by the civil law of whatever country it would occur in.”

Africa US Military

(AP Photo/John Moore, File)

As CNSNews.com previously reported, the Senate version of the Defense authorization bill included language that would have repealed Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Article 125 states: “(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.”

The provision in the Senate defense bill, which was headlined “REPEAL OF SODOMY ARTICLE,” was located on Page 174 of the bill.

The provision states: “Section 925 of such title (article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice) is repealed.” Click here to see the language of the provision as posted on Uniform Code of Military Justice website.

This week,  the conference committee working to reconcile the differences between the Senate and House versions of the National Defense Authorization Act removed the “Repeal of Sodomy Article” from the legislation.

The pro-homosexual Servicemembers Legal Defense Network released a statement on the issue that said, “However, we are very disappointed that the conferees voted to keep the sodomy provisions in Article 125. Dropping Article 125 has been recommended for more than a decade by SLDN and several groups, including the Cox Commission that includes distinguished legal scholars from the military and academia, as well as the Comprehensive Review Working Group (CRWG). The Senate was right to take this action, and it is unfortunate that their attempt to end Article 125 did not prevail. SLDN will continue to work with the Senate, House, and Department of Defense to bring about this needed change.”