Saturday, February 25, 2006

You can open my parachute any time

Seven of the Army's most elite soldiers are set to be discharged for engaging in gay sex acts for money. Three soldiers from the famed 82nd Airborne Division also face court martials on charges of sodomy and pandering. Four others received nonjudicial punishments, according to a statement released by the military Friday.

The division had previously been investigating allegations that soldiers appeared on a gay porn site. A spokesman for the division said the charges were a result of that investigation.

The same would have happened to a straight guy, or woman. However, the line severs if you remove the "for money" part, as hetero sex acts aren't illegal in the Army.

But this isn't the best case for the equality movement to galvanize behind.

The charges indicate the soldiers' behavior is "a much more serious matter than just their sexual orientation," said Steve Ralls, a spokesman for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a legal group that helps gays and lesbians in the military.

"I'm not going to make excuses for service members who are taking part in sexual conduct for money," said Ralls. "It would be absolutely criminal regardless of whether they were heterosexual or gay."

While the "don't ask, don't tell" police remains a contradictory sham (thank you, Bill Clinton), the greater crime here is in the cause. The median salary for a typical E4 - Specialist/Corporal in the U.S. Army is $22,471, according to

Easy to see how someone making that little might be tempted by the lure of quick cash. Not to make these soldiers martyrs, but hopefully their plight will draw attention to the pittance we pay our "heroes."

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