legal theories

Rep. John Ragan: Repealing DADT Won’t Kill Military’s Ban On Butt Sex, So There!

Rep. John Ragan, the Tennessee Republican, isn’t convinced the upcoming death of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell means gay soldiers will suddenly be immune to discharge for being gay. At least if they’re sexually active gays. See, the little repealy thing passed by Congress and signed off on by President Obama doesn’t kill the military’s ban on sodomy. Which means any butt sex crimes committed by gay (and straight!) soldiers is still grounds for discharge. Insubordination or something?

Though he’s now a freshman congressman, Ragan, a former commander who graduated from the United States Air Force Academy, is the same guy who campaigned as a state rep claiming things like sexual orientation is just a term “used to describe feelings” (“no practitioner of any sexual behavior, whether such is polygamy, prostitution, homosexual behavior, etc., is entitled to a claim of civil rights purely on the basis of feeling a certain way and engaging in that behavior”); that gender identity is a term that “outside of the fields of psychiatry or psychology … has no practical meaning”; and bullying is just a universal problem not specific to certain classes of people (“it does not matter who is the victim, it is the act of bullying and its perpetrators that must be targeted for remediation”). So do his feelings about gays in the military really surprise you?

The Uniform Code of Military Justice, signed into law under President Truman, makes sodomy illegal, and repealing DADT doesn’t kill it, Ragan claims, according to Out & About Nashville. What about Lawrence v. Texas? Screw it, apparently.

But even if DADT repeal didn’t kill the No Sodomy rule outright, isn’t it, in effect, already pretty moot?

“This provision from the UCMJ is not enforced,” says Christian Berle, Deputy Executive Director of the Log Cabin Republicans. “If it were to be enforced, I would imagine that a servicemember would simply challenge the constitutionality of this section in the UCMJ as Lawrence v. Texas overturned every enforcement of ‘bans’ on sodomy in all laws save the UCMJ.” He adds that this prohibition in the UCMJ applies to heterosexual military officers too, were they to engage in such acts. However, Rep. Ragan rejects the use of Lawrence v. Texas, as it did not happen in a military court, and he adds he has been directly involved in military trials involving the UCMJ. While the LCR suggest appealing to Mike Mullen, Rep. Ragan stresses it is Congress who has the last word in this case.

So according to Ragan’s logic, even after DADT is dead, gays should be careful where they stick it. The congressman, I can only assume, will be watching.