No Senator Spoke Out Against Repeal of Military's Ban on Sodomy and Bestiality

By Pete Winn | December 4, 2011 | 5:20pm EST

In this Nov. 16, 2011 photo, Capt. Stephen Hill, left, and his partner, Joshua Snyder, pose for a photo in their home in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

( – Not a single member of the Senate spoke out last week against a provision in the defense authorization bill that will repeal the military's ban on sodomy and bestiality if the bill becomes law.

The Senate voted 93 to 7 on Thursday evening to approve the National Defense Authorization Act, which contained a provision to repeal Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

Article 125 of the UCMJ makes it illegal for anyone in the U.S. military to engage “in unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex or with an animal.”

Three conservative Senate Republicans – Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) – joined Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in voting “NO” on the bill.

But none of them spoke out in Senate debate against the sodomy/bestiality provision leading up to the vote. And none said they voted against the bill because of the provision.

“Dr. Coburn voted against the bill because it didn't do enough to fix the long term challenges at the Pentagon,” a Coburn spokesman told on Friday.

A spokesman for Lee, meanwhile, said that the senator does not support doing away with the Article 125 law on sodomy and bestiality, but his vote was prompted by concerns over the fact that the bill allows U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism to be detained in the U.S. by the military for an indefinite period.

"I opposed the National Defense Authorization Act because it did not provide adequate constitutional protections for American citizens detained by the U. S. military,” Lee said in a statement provided to

“Honoring my oath to uphold the Constitution means more than doing what the Supreme Court allows. Senators also have the obligation to interpret our founding document and write legislation that adheres to the fundamental liberties contained therein.”

Sen. Paul did not respond to by press time. Sens. Merkley, Harkin and Wyden also did not respond. Harkin’s Web site said that even though he voted no, he “supported many of the provisions of the bill.”

In fact, only one member of Congress spoke out against the provision last Thursday night – and he was in the House of Representatives, not the Senate.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) took to the House floor to condemn the provision just as the Senate was voting.

“If the Senate language passes the House, they’ve stricken the language that prohibits bestiality in the military in their overzealous effort to try to advance same-sex marriage among our military and use it as a social experiment,” King said for the Congressional Record.

King’s remarks took note of the fact that the Senate bill also did not contain House-passed measures designed to guarantee that the federal Defense of Marriage Act would be applied to military bases – and to guarantee that military chaplains would not be forced to perform same-sex marriages in military chapels.

“The military’s job is to protect our freedom and our liberty,” he said. “They take an oath to the Constitution. They put their lives on the line, and we give them something that defies the Federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act.”

Tom McClusky, director of government relations for Family Research Council Action, told that the lack of response bout the bestiality repeal was “very troubling.”

Why did no one in the Senate mention it?

“I think because it’s a very difficult issue to talk about, probably,” McClusky told “However, some of these senators should also be concerned – they probably don’t want campaign challengers running ads about how ‘Sen. So-and-So voted to repeal (the policy) in the military both on sodomy and bestiality.’ ”

McClusky said some members of the Senate may have taken the practical stance of  “Let the conference committee deal with that issue.”

“That’s certainly the possibility, and we’re working with members on the House side to try to reinstate Article 125 completely – certainly to fix the bestiality problem,” he said.

McClusky, meanwhile, said the repeal of the bestiality provision came about because supporters of homosexuals in the military were in such a hurry to get rid of the ban on gay sex – sodomy – that overturning the military law against bestiality was merely a side issue for them.

“It’s kind of the same thing that we saw with the effort to get rid of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – the liberals, in their rush to push a liberal social agenda, just don’t seem to care about repercussions on what might happen,” he said.

He added: “While the bestiality thing, I think, was an oversight by an incompetent Congress, it could be seen by courts as being approval of bestiality, just as it is supposed to be an approval of sodomy.”

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