About a week ago, a “Get a Life” post by Joe Gandelman discussing a bovine question by a reporter on a defense authorization bill that included a provision which repeals the military law on sodomy and the military ban on sex with animals, or bestiality, quickly (de)generated some heated comments on the issue.
One person insisted that sodomy and other bizarre deviant sex acts should be illegal and was appalled that bestiality would now be legal in the U.S. military.
Apparently, several Conservative Congressmen and groups are also freaked out about this and “really, really [wanted] to make sure that sex with animals is still outlawed in the military.”
Last week, conservative lobbyists and animal rights groups were up in arms over an obscure provision in the draft Defense Appropriations bill that would have eliminated a clause prohibiting sodomy and bestiality from the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Pentagon officials described the changes as largely a legal housekeeping matter, because the sodomy prohibition had long ago been struck down by the Supreme Court and the bestiality prohibition was covered by other sections of the UCMJ.
In an earlier article, the Stars and Stripes had to reassure skeptics that, “Just in case you weren’t sure, bestiality is still illegal in the U.S. military.”
Again, the Stripes:
But that reality didn’t stop panicked cries that the Pentagon was poised to legalize sex with animals, and congressional staffers said they worked in recent days to calm lawmakers worried that the technical clean-up could be misunderstood.
In the end, senators who pushed for the change on behalf of the Pentagon simply dropped the matter, and removed the issue from the annual defense authorization bill now headed for the President’s desk.
Defense officials said the decision will have no effect on the enforcement of military law. Sodomy is permitted; bestiality is not.
Those hoping to strike the sodomy language from the UCMJ said they’ll try again next year. Meanwhile, officials with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who last week blasted the White House for not taking the bestiality issue seriously, said they were pleased with the outcome.
“Even if this part of the statute is for all intents and purposes dormant, the Department of Defense has given its assurance that anyone committing a sexually abusive act with a member of another species will be prosecuted,” PETA spokewoman Colleen O’Brien said.
Congress is expected to approve the authorization act later this week. Obama has threatened to veto the measure in recent months, but over the issue of new detention rules for terrorists, not bestiality concerns.
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.