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From exclusion to acceptance: a case history of homosexuality in the U.S. Court of Military Appeals

, : From exclusion to acceptance: a case history of homosexuality in the U.S. Court of Military Appeals. Journal of Homosexuality 60(2-3): 250-272

Policing the legality and normalcy of service members' sexual lives was a contentious process for military courts throughout the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s that resulted in the inconsistent enforcement of the homosexual exclusion policy. Military personnel of all ranks and occupations harbored a variety of attitudes and beliefs about homosexuality that challenged the legitimacy and uniformity of the military's legal assault on sexual deviance. Over half of the active duty personnel originally accused of homosexual tendencies received either sentence reductions or sentence reversals as a result of this highly contested process by which official military policy was translated into practice via courts-martial. Paradoxically, the very policies that discriminated against alleged homosexual service members generated legal avenues through which gays and lesbians exercised their rights to due process, and, ultimately, their rights as American citizens embodied in the repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. Rather than being an ideologically homophobic monolith, the Cold War American military rocked with contestation over an exclusion policy that attempted--unsuccessfully--to eliminate all gay and lesbian service members.


PMID: 23414272

DOI: 10.1080/00918369.2013.744671

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