Military

Consensual Gay Sex Still Banned in the Military

Not exactly keeping up with the times

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There's one U.S. government institution that still criminalizes consensual gay sex: the military.

Two years into the relatively uneventful implementation of the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, it may seem strange that gay and lesbian service members are still technically barred from having sex. Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice however, is technically still in effect. Article 125 makes it a criminal offense to "engage in unnatural carnal copulation" with "another person of the same or opposite sex or with an animal." With the Supreme Court having struck down anti-sodomy laws nationwide in 2003, a subsequent military court of appeals decision in 2004, and the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell in 2010, Article 125 is almost unenforceable, as long as sexual relations don't run afoul of other military regulations like prohibitions on officers sleeping with enlisted personnel. Technically, the language also criminalizes "unnatural" consensual sexual contact for heterosexual service members as well, but it criminalizes any sexual contact for gay and lesbian service members.