A clause added to the Defense Authorization spending bill repealing Section 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice in order to decriminalize homosexual relations has provoked considerable controversy.
It turned out that Section 125 stated that any servicemember who “engages in unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same sex or opposite sex or with an animal is guilty of sodomy.” Offenders would face court-martial for any violations.
Legalizing homosexual relations thus seemed to imply that bestiality would have to be legalized as well, and organizations from the Family Research Council to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals exploded in indignation.
The Pentagon tried assuring Congress that bestiality would remain unlawful because it is impossible to conceive of a circumstance in which such an act “would not be conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline or service-discrediting.” Though they obviously overlooked the fact that plenty of people would be happy to argue that homosexual acts are bound to be just as prejudicial to good order and discipline, and discrediting to the service in the eyes of many Americans.
The Republican-controlled House has yet to endorse the Senate bill, and negotiators are discussing the differences in each house’s version of the Defense bill.