Adultery + Military = Trouble

More than a year after Kelly Flinn was drummed out of the Air Force for lying about her adultery, Defense Secretary William Cohen has decided the military should not lighten its punishment of extramarital sex, reports CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin.

Pentagon lawyers had recommended reducing the maximum punishment to a bad conduct discharge but Cohen is sticking with the more severe dishonorable discharge, which can cost a person in uniform all of their retirement benefits.

Adultery rarely receives the maximum punishment, but the proposed changes might have created a perception the military was easing up on adultery.

The commandant of the Marine Corps vehemently objected to any change, sending out an email which said "Downgrade the consequences of adultery?...Not in the Marine Corps. Not under this commandant."

However, there will be one major change in the sexual rulebook. Despite strong objections, the Army will be told it can no longer permit an officer like Carla Joyner to marry an enlisted man like her husband, Sgt. Michael Joyner. Dating and marriage between officers and enlisted will be forbidden.

Sex in the military will continue to be governed by entirely different rules from the rest of society, but it will also remain as controversial a subject as it is everywhere else.

Reported by David Martin
©1998, CBS Worldwide Inc., All Rights Reserved