In this session long project I will be discussing the moral dilemma faced by the United States Military in having homosexuals in the military and issues with the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Utilitarian ethics state that the best decision is the one that benefits the majority of the people. Ignoring a potential problem and hoping a negative situation does not arise is the first solution. This solution would be popular with those who prefer using utilitarian ethics. Deontological ethics would favor implementing a policy prohibiting homosexuals in the military which we kind of already have. In my opinion the “Don’t Ask Don’t tell” falls under both Utilitarian and Deontological ethics. Let me be up front, for the record, that I don’t care one way or the other about the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy the military imposes on its members with regards to their sexual orientation. I am a heterosexual man who has been married for over 15 years. I serve in the United States Navy for over 20 years. Both before and now following the enactment of the policy and it made no difference to me or my shipmates. I am secure enough in my manhood to feel confident in the abilities of everyone with which I had the pleasure to serve alongside – with and without knowledge of their sexual orientation. At no point in time was I ever approached by any gay military member in such a way as to believe that I would endure any sexual advances by them (and yes, I oftentimes knew who they were). During basic training, I showered alongside my fellow shipmates and I’m sure a few of them were gay. My shipboard duty continuously put me into close quarter and compromising positions with other members, and again – I never felt as though I would find a need to thwart of any sexual advances. When I served after the policy was enacted and I was unsure who was and was not homosexual, it made no difference in how I treated my shipmates. I would die for all of them, I would perform CPR if necessary, and I would defend each one of them in any bar in any port – because they were my shipmates regardless of their sexual orientation. I also served confident in the knowledge that any one of my shipmates (gay or straight) would have done the very same for me without any ulterior motive.
As for the Uniform Code of Military Justice, This for anybody who is unfamiliar with it is the Congressional Code of Military Criminal Law and it is applicable to all members of the United States military. As with most laws published by congress, the UCMJ is vague in many of its descriptions. This provides the flexibility to those who enforce it to be able to apply it how they see fit (I totally disagree with that statement). There are some articles of the UCMJ that are very specific, but with regards to sexual acts, they are flexible in their meanings. The UCMJ, at no point in time, states that homosexuality is against the code… BUT, on more than one occasion, the code does state that certain acts of sexuality are. Example would be UCMJ Sec. 920, Art. 120 deals with rape and carnal knowledge and it states, “(a) Any person subject to this chapter who commits an act of sexual intercourse with a female not his wife, by force and without consent, is guilty of rape and shall be punished by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct. )
Here’s my solution: Homosexuality has become more widely accepted in society. The civilian workforce has shown time and again that heterosexuals and homosexuals can work side-by-side to get the job done, if they can do it why can’t we do it in the military? We can! Lift the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. This forces openly homosexual members into a Catch-22 situation. While they are free to openly express their homosexuality – without fear of retribution, they must still conform to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and not engage in homosexual acts. Now, does the military enforce it? Hell no because if they did 80 percent of the military would be going to a court martial for disobeying one of the many articles in the UCMJ.
Uniform Code of Military Justice Sec. 920, Art. 120
Gay Service Members’ Letters Urge “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal article