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Army dismisses gay soldier 'outed' by e-mail
AP ^ | 7/27/6 | DUNCAN MANSFIELD

Posted on 07/27/2006 7:39:00 AM PDT by SmithL

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) - A decorated sergeant and Arabic language specialist was dismissed from the U.S. Army under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, though he says he never admitted being gay and his accuser was never identified.

Bleu Copas, 30, told The Associated Press he is gay, but said he was "outed" by a stream of anonymous e-mails to his superiors in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C.

"I knew the policy going in," Copas said in an interview on the campus of East Tennessee State University, where he is pursuing a master's degree in counseling and working as a student adviser. "I knew it was going to be difficult."

An eight-month Army investigation culminated in Copas' honorable discharge on Jan. 30 _ less than four years after he enlisted, he said, out of a post-Sept. 11 sense of duty to his country.

Copas now carries the discharge papers, which mention his awards and citations, so he can document his military service for prospective employers. But the papers also give the reason for his dismissal.

He plans to appeal to the Army Board for Correction of Military Records.

The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, established in 1993, prohibits the military from inquiring about the sex lives of service members, but requires discharges of those who openly acknowledge being gay.

The policy is becoming "a very effective weapon of vengeance in the armed forces" said Steve Ralls, a spokesman for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a Washington-based watchdog organization that counseled Copas and is working to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Copas said he was never open about his sexuality in the military and suspects his accuser was someone he mistakenly befriended and apparently slighted.

More than 11,000 service members have been dismissed under the policy, including 726 last year _ an 11 percent jump from 2004 and the first increase since 2001.

That's less than a half-percent of the more than 2 million soldiers, sailors and Marines dismissed for all reasons since 1993, according to the General Accountability Office.

But the GAO also noted that nearly 800 dismissed gay or lesbian service members had critical abilities, including 300 with important language skills. Fifty-five were proficient in Arabic, including Copas, a graduate of the Defense Language Institute in California.

Discharging and replacing them has cost the Pentagon nearly $369 million, according to the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Lt. Col. James Zellmer, Copas' commanding officer in the 313th military intelligence battalion, told the AP that "the evidence clearly indicated that Sgt. Copas had engaged in homosexual acts."

While investigators were never able to determine who the accuser was, "in the end, the nature and the volume of the evidence and Sgt. Copas's own sworn statement led me to discharge him," Zellmer said.

Military investigators wrote that Copas "engaged in at least three homosexual relationships, and is dealing with at least two jealous lovers, either of whom could be the anonymous source providing this information."

Shortly after Copas was appointed to the 82nd Airborne's highly visible All-American Chorus last May, the first e-mail came to the chorus director.

"The director brought everyone into the hallway and told us about this e-mail they had just received and blatantly asked, 'Which one of you are gay?'" Copas said.

Copas later complained to the director and his platoon sergeant, saying the questions violated "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

"They said they would watch it in the future," Copas said. "And they said, even specifically then, 'Well, you are not gay are you?' And I said, 'no.'"

The accuser, who signed his e-mails "John Smith" or "ftbraggman," pressed Copas' superiors to take action against him or "I will inform your entire battalion of the information that I gave you."

On Dec. 2, investigators formally interviewed Copas and asked if he understood the military's policy on homosexuals, if he had any close acquaintances who were gay, and if he was involved in community theater. He answered affirmatively.

But Copas declined to answer when they asked, "Have you ever engaged in homosexual activity or conduct?" He refused to answer 19 of 47 questions before he asked for a lawyer and the interrogation stopped.

Copas said he accepted the honorable discharge to end the ordeal, to avoid lying about his sexuality and risking a perjury charge, and to keep friends from being targeted.

"It is unfair. It is unjust," he said. "Even with the policy we have, it should never have happened."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: army; dontaskdonttell; homosexualagenda; military
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To: Lucky Dog
This is just ridiculous.

If you had in front of your superior officers, you could have been disciplined just as this man was.

So, how many straight soldiers have been discharged for having anal sex with their wives or girlfriends? Any? Ever?

Note the irony: you can only be blackmailed if your sexual preference needs to be a secret. If gays can openly serve, there's nothing to blackmail them with.

The idea that we need the UCMJ to protect straight soldiers from gay ones in the showers is hilarious. I mean, you'd think the straight soldiers would be pretty capable of taking care of themselves in that regard? You stare at me in the showers while you're playing with yourself, I don't think the UCMJ is gonna be your biggest problem.
221 posted on 07/28/2006 5:26:34 AM PDT by kenboy
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To: FloridianBushFan
A gay man or woman could save your life in combat or in any situation...

So could a child-molester. So could a kleptomaniac. Do we turn a blind eye to issues that degrade unit cohesion and function in other areas, just because a soldier has the potential to save a life in combat?

According to the article, he had two jealous lovers, one of which probably was sending the emails (and who needs to be canned, too). He's already degraded the cohesion of the military. He's no different than a soldier sleeping with another soldier's wife (and they get canned, too... correctly).

222 posted on 07/28/2006 5:31:48 AM PDT by Charles H. (The_r0nin) (Hwt! Lr bi mst hord, solce!)
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To: kenboy
You stare at me in the showers while you're playing with yourself, I don't think the UCMJ is gonna be your biggest problem.

So you are advocating a policy that degrades unit cohesion?

223 posted on 07/28/2006 5:35:57 AM PDT by Charles H. (The_r0nin) (Hwt! Lr bi mst hord, solce!)
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To: Charles H. (The_r0nin)

I'm simply saying that I feel "making sure no one feels uncomfortable in a group shower" is a stupid reason to ban gays from serving in the military. This whole "oh, if a gay man sees me without my clothes on, he's just going to be unable to control himself and he'll rape me" hysteria is ridiculous.


224 posted on 07/28/2006 5:53:10 AM PDT by kenboy
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To: kenboy

Should men and women shower together, then?


225 posted on 07/28/2006 6:00:46 AM PDT by Republican Wildcat
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To: kenboy
This whole "oh, if a gay man sees me without my clothes on, he's just going to be unable to control himself and he'll rape me" hysteria is ridiculous a straw man fallacy.

No one has asserted what you say above (hence the straw man fallacy). What has been asserted (and is in fact true) is that a sexually active gay contingent within the military is destined to damage unit cohesion. And that is exactly what happened in the article above. Open homosexual behavior would do far worse.

226 posted on 07/28/2006 6:05:30 AM PDT by Charles H. (The_r0nin) (Hwt! Lr bi mst hord, solce!)
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To: Republican Wildcat

No.


227 posted on 07/28/2006 6:11:49 AM PDT by kenboy
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To: kenboy

And why not?


228 posted on 07/28/2006 6:17:47 AM PDT by Republican Wildcat
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To: SmithL

An awful lot of folks posting here have obviously never been in the military...


229 posted on 07/28/2006 6:18:33 AM PDT by Mr Rogers (I'm agnostic on evolution, but sit ups are from Hell!)
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To: kenboy
The idea that we need the UCMJ to protect straight soldiers from gay ones in the showers is hilarious.

As I noted to another respondent in post #190: You need to read the rest of the posts on this thread. Perhaps you missed the part about blood borne pathogens... or the part about violating the UCMJ and their oaths to support and defend the Constitution of the US... or the part about being subject to blackmail... or the part about lacking the discipline to follow standing orders and regulations...

The purpose of the UCMJ is to provide a consistent and just basis for the good order and discipline of the land and naval forces. Without such good order and discipline, the effectiveness of these land and naval forces at protecting our Republic from aggressors is severely compromised. Our elected representatives have judged, after due deliberations, that the contents of the UCMJ fulfils this purpose and the experience of decades has borne out their judgment.

So, how many straight soldiers have been discharged for having anal sex with their wives or girlfriends? Any? Ever?

As noted above, you need to read the rest of the posts on this thread, specifically post #185:

First, unless they are doing it public, the military has no way of knowing. If they are doing it in public, then there are other sections of the UCMJ that become operative. Second, assuming they are not doing it in public, there are no witnesses and no case. Even if a spouse decides to turn state’s evidence and accuse the other, there is no independent corroboration and, thus, no case. To my knowledge, there has never been a case brought against a military member purely for private, consensual sexual intercourse with a spouse.
230 posted on 07/28/2006 6:22:45 AM PDT by Lucky Dog
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To: Charles H. (The_r0nin)
Open homosexual behavior would do far worse.

You know, I don't think it would. But I'll be honest about it and say I don't know. Tell you what: let's study the situation and see how allies like Israel and the UK handle these issues, and we'll see what they learned from their experiences, and we'll use their learning as a starting point for us. Rather than listening to individual soldiers tell us that they don't care who's in the foxhole with them or that they know gays only join the military to recruit, as we've seen on this thread, let's look at the unit cohesion experiences in these other countries. If it's been a disaster, then maybe we should keep the UCMJ as it is -- though, I think maybe banning anal (and depending on how you read it, anal) sex between opposite-sex couples is a bit archaic.

And regardless of whether or not one's sexual orientation is a choice or not, it sure seems to me that this "unit cohesion" argument is the same one used 60 years ago to justify keeping the military segregated.

There are policies in place to deal with unwanted sexual advances, should a gay soldier be stupid enough to make them on a straight soldier. In this case, it seems like the only reason unit cohesion (the unit being ... the choir) was damaged was because DADT exists. If this soldier, like his straight single fellow soldiers, was allowed to sleep with whatever single civilian he wanted too off-base, the unit would still be fine.
231 posted on 07/28/2006 6:25:51 AM PDT by kenboy
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To: Lucky Dog
First, unless they are doing it public, the military has no way of knowing. If they are doing it in public, then there are other sections of the UCMJ that become operative. Second, assuming they are not doing it in public, there are no witnesses and no case. Even if a spouse decides to turn state’s evidence and accuse the other, there is no independent corroboration and, thus, no case. To my knowledge, there has never been a case brought against a military member purely for private, consensual sexual intercourse with a spouse.

So, let's say you're a straight, single soldier, and your straight, single, civilian ex-girlfriend, who is pissed at you, wants to get you fired. Should she really be able to call your CO, tell him that you've had anal sex with her, and get an investigation opened into your violation of the UCMJ? If the law is applied equally, I suppose Army investigators will question the other soldiers to find out if you ever admitted (bragged) to having done it, and once that independent corroboration is established, you'll be cashiered.

But that's OK, because anal sex spreads blood borne pathogens.

Seriously, I think this is all ridiculous. We're fighting a global war on terrorism, but we're spending millions of dollars investigating and dismissing soldiers because of who they have sex with. As far as I'm concerned, gay or straight, if it's not someone in your unit, I don't care.
232 posted on 07/28/2006 6:35:08 AM PDT by kenboy
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To: Republican Wildcat

Not to rip off the guy above me, but I really like the phrase "straw man fallacy."


233 posted on 07/28/2006 6:49:59 AM PDT by kenboy
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To: FloridianBushFan
Sounds like youve got some serious Pee pee envy going on...
234 posted on 07/28/2006 6:50:51 AM PDT by TheGunny (Re-read 1&2 Corinthians)
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To: kenboy
Seriously, I think this is all ridiculous. We're fighting a global war on terrorism, but we're spending millions of dollars investigating and dismissing soldiers because of who they have sex with. As far as I'm concerned, gay or straight, if it's not someone in your unit, I don't care.

You, obviously, have never had the responsibility of command and it appears doubtful that you have ever had experience in a combat unit. If you had, your attitude, I suspect, would be considerably different.

When, as a commander at any level in a theater of war, you give an order, you know that the success of your mission and the lives of your people depend upon those orders being faithfully executed. Beyond those you give directly, there are “standing orders and regulations” you rely on being observed. Furthermore, when you receive orders from those in authority over you, you know that your superiors rely on the same level of discipline from you as you rely on from your subordinates. Without this military discipline, death and failure are nearly always inevitable.

The UCMJ is the highest standing order for the military. Those who violate it prove their lack of discipline and, thus, also prove their wiliness to potentially jeopardize the mission as well as their own lives and those around them. Regardless of whether, or not, you are concerned with who is gay and who is straight, it is an issue of military discipline that these individuals adhere to the standards of conduct laid before them.

If queers in the military do not have the discipline to restrain themselves in the area of sexual perversions, what makes you think that they would have the discipline to restrain themselves to following other orders?
235 posted on 07/28/2006 7:00:58 AM PDT by Lucky Dog
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To: Lucky Dog
If queers in the military do not have the discipline to restrain themselves in the area of sexual perversions, what makes you think that they would have the discipline to restrain themselves to following other orders?

Once again: the UCMJ makes no distinction between "sexual perversions" committed by homosexuals or heterosexuals. Penetration is penetration, and if you're right -- that soldiers who ignore orders related to sex will ignore other orders -- then I expect we'll need to dismiss tens of thousands of straight soldiers who've had anal (and possibly oral) sex with their wives and girlfriends.

Because, really, if they don't have the discipline to restrain themselves from those sexual perversions with their opposite-sex partners, what makes you think they'd have the discipline to restrain themselves to following other orders?
236 posted on 07/28/2006 7:09:18 AM PDT by kenboy
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To: kenboy
Because, really, if they don't have the discipline to restrain themselves from those sexual perversions with their opposite-sex partners, what makes you think they'd have the discipline to restrain themselves to following other orders?

Perhaps you missed posts #230, #190 and #185. Care to read them and repost a cogent reply... especially the part about blood borne pathogens and the added, unnecessary threat that such pose on the battlefield?

Maybe you could also expound upon how monogamous sexual relations (of any type) with one's faithful spouse contributes to this threat. Perhaps you could also explain why the individual who was the subject of the original article on this thread did not subject himself such potential consequences by his admitted actions.

While your at it, explain how this man commander is going to explain to one of the fellow service members of queers why they should put their own lives and that of their wives at risk to render first aid to this man and other like him if he is wounded in action.
237 posted on 07/28/2006 7:29:02 AM PDT by Lucky Dog
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To: kenboy; Republican Wildcat
Not to rip off the guy above me, but I really like the phrase "straw man fallacy."

You were asked if men and women should shower together and you answered no. When asked why you said it was a straw man.

Here's what a freeper in the Navy said:

Yeah nobody ever gives a s**t if something makes us straight guys uncomfortable, we have to just put with being called bigots. You work with gays people, big f-ing deal, after which you can go to your own home and associate with whom ever you wish. The fact that I work, eat, sleep, s**t, shower and shave 24/7 with no privacy when my ship is underway doesn't count for anything with you. Tell me why have to share a berthing compartment with someone who finds men sexual attractive? Don't bring out the old "nobody finds everybody attractive" arguement. Men and women don't find everyone of the opposite sex attractive and yet they berth seperately. Why? Because of the potential for sexual problems. Source
The obvious answer is the potential for sexual attraction, and potention is being kind. There will be sexual attraction if men and women shower together. The same is true for homosexual men showing with heterosexual men. Do you see the issue here?
238 posted on 07/28/2006 7:34:48 AM PDT by scripter ("You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body." - C.S. Lewis)
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To: scripter
Whoops. Looks like I'm making up words again. potention = potential.
239 posted on 07/28/2006 7:37:37 AM PDT by scripter ("You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body." - C.S. Lewis)
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To: Lucky Dog
especially the part about blood borne pathogens and the added, unnecessary threat that such pose on the battlefield

So ban those with HIV or Hepatitis or whatever else you'd like to include in that category from service. I'm fine with that. Test their blood regularly, and if they come up positive, discharge them.

Article 125 of the UCMJ, as best I can tell, was included when the UCMJ was adopted in 1951. It had nothing to do with HIV, or monogamy. Under Article 125, however, oral sex in a monogamous heterosexual relationship is just as illegal as anal sex in a polygamous homosexual one.

And I don't know, but I'd like to think that soldiers will risk their lives for their comrades because that's what soldiers do.
240 posted on 07/28/2006 8:30:09 AM PDT by kenboy
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