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Military’s adultery law seen as an unjust invasion of privacy

As previous posts in this blog have explained, military divorce can be vastly different from civilian family law. Many of the issues and disputes experienced by civilians are the same for Northern Kentucky residents serving in the military, but they can be handled in an unexpected way by a military court. In some cases, military family law could be seen as unfair or outdated.

For example, adultery is considered a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. This only pertains to extramarital sexual affairs that are heterosexual, not same-sex. On the other hand, adultery is not considered a crime under civilian law. Why is adultery a crime for those serving in the military? The reasons cited are that enlisted members should be able to exercise discipline and discretion, as well as not wishing to discredit America’s military.

There are numerous arguments against what many say is an antiquated law. With same-sex marriage now being legal, some believe that LGBT members should be held to the same standard, otherwise heterosexuals are being discriminated against. Others assert that it should not be considered a crime for two consenting people to have an affair. If the married couple is separated, or if one wants a divorce but the other is not cooperating, the law criminalizing adultery can be especially frustrating. Finally, it is widely agreed that this law violates the privacy of enlisted members.

It is not yet known whether opposition to this area of the Uniform Code of Military Justice will be changed. This is one example as to why experienced legal counsel may be necessary for military family law matters.

Source: Bloomberg, "Adultery Is None of the Military's Business," Noah Feldman, June 30, 2016

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