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  • Cited by 3
  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: November 2008

13 - Heterosexuality as a Legal Regime


In the late 1990s, an American serviceman was tried for an unusual crime of larceny: the court ruled that the serviceman had entered into a sham heterosexual marriage in order to obtain government benefits for himself and his male partner. Specifically, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces asserted that the serviceman had married a lesbian and then applied for a military allowance to live off-barracks with his “dependent” in Makakilo, Hawaii. But, in reality, the serviceman’s wife lived in her apartment in Honolulu while the serviceman used the allowance to support a household with his male lover. In his testimony, the serviceman admitted to homosexual conduct, but denied that his infidelity had any bearing on the legitimacy of his marriage. He told the court that while his wife’s job kept her in Honolulu, he put her name on the lease because he expected her to move in with him in the future. In the meantime, he said, they spent weekends together whenever his schedule permitted. But the prosecution responded with evidence from the serviceman’s friends who admitted that the soldier “got married to live off base, that it was a business deal.” The wife got the privileges of the military’s “dependent ID card,” these soldiers told the court, and “there was nothing more to it than that.”

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