Heterosexuality and Military Service
Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy, Vol. 104, 2010
25 Pages Posted: 6 May 2010
Date Written: May 5, 2010
The military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy (DADT) is based on a faulty understanding of the relationship between heterosexuality and military service. DADT is built around the idea that because gay sex disrupts unit cohesion, lesbians and gay men cannot be allowed to serve openly in the military. The policy rests on the idea that gay sex is more harmful to military effectiveness than other kinds of sexual conduct. Yet the military regulates a wide range of heterosexual sexual conduct - from blanket rules against sexual conduct altogether, to criminal laws targeting specific sexual acts and relationships, such as sodomy, adultery, fraternization, and a short-lived criminal law against pregnancy - and these regulations are all designed to protect unit cohesion. This Essay argues that DADT’s focus on homosexuality is misplaced. What the military thinks of as a problem with homosexuality is really a problem with sexual conduct in general.
Keywords: Homosexuality, Heterosexuality, Employment, Military, Sex
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