The repeal of the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy was hailed by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists as a supreme victory for the Obama administration in September. But now, those outraged by the repeal say they are further angered by the revision of yet another military technicality, albeit one that is considerably more obscure.
As Stars and Stripes is reporting, White House and Pentagon officials have fielded uncomfortable queries on whether they are working to decriminalize sex with animals as part of efforts to update the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
Interestingly, Congress is reportedly poised to remove the only specific reference to bestiality in the UCMJ, though officials say its removal is merely a legal technicality and does not represent any fundamental change for servicemembers and, by extension, service animals, the publication reports. "The department's position on this issue remains unchanged and that act remains illegal," defense spokesman Lt. Col Todd Breasseale is quoted as saying.
The text in question to be repealed reads:
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.
Among those who expressed their distaste in the removal were members of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who allege White House officials are not considering the seriousness of the matter. "Our office has been flooded with calls from Americans who are upset that this ban has been repealed -- and for good reason," officials wrote in a letter to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, according to Politico. "As we outlined in the attached letter sent yesterday to the secretary of defense, animal abuse does not affect animals only -- it is also a matter of public safety, as people who abuse animals very often go on to abuse human beings."
Not surprisingly, conservative pundits were also among the dissenting voices. Having already slammed the Obama administration for "using the military to advance [its] radical social agenda," Family Research Council President Tony Perkins told CNSNews.com, "Well, whether it was inadvertent or not, they have also taken out the provision against bestiality. So now, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), there’s nothing there to prosecute bestiality."