For the past week, the Family Research Council has been beating the drum that the Senate’s vote to repeal the military’s archaic sodomy ban (Article 125) also lifts the ban on bestiality. In the process, they recruited People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Michele Bachmann to also raise concerns about legalized bestiality. A World Net Daily reporter even brought the matter up in a White House press briefing.
In reality, the Senate’s decision fulfills the commitment of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to not discriminate against gay troops and does nothing to change prohibitions against bestiality. The military magazine Stars & Stripes reports today that not only does bestiality remain illegal in the military, but that bestiality wasn’t typically prosecuted under Article 125 anyway:
“The department’s position on this issue remains unchanged and that act remains illegal,” said defense spokesman Lt. Col Todd Breasseale. […]
Even if Article 125 is removed, the UCMJ contains provisions under which troops can be punished. Article 134, for example, forbids “all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces” and “all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.” Breasseale said that would cover any and all animal abuse.
In fact, past instances of bestiality in the military have been prosecuted under that statute, instead of Article 125. The legal record dates back to 1957, when Pvt. Ricardo Sanchez was convicted of “an indecent act with an animal” under Article 134, even without specific wording prohibiting sex with animals.
Ultimately and unsurprisingly, conservatives were merely using this as an opportunity to try to spread fears about the supposed “consequences” of repealing DADT. None of the disasters opponents predicted have come to fruition, and even Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos, who originally opposed repeal, has admitted that “Marines across the globe have adapted smoothly and embraced the change.”