Three California-based Marines have been given bad-conduct discharges after they pled guilty to entering into fake marriages so that a lesbian couple could receive extra housing funds each month.
What started as a ploy to ensure that Cpl. Ashley Vice and her partner Jaime Murphy — a civilian — would be able to afford living with one another in an off-base apartment, has concluded with major legal drama.
The Los Angeles Times frames the issues surrounding same-sex regulations that may have played a role in the flagrant decision to evade the law:
Even with the end of the ”don’t ask/don’t tell” policy banning gays and lesbians from serving openly, same-sex couples will not be eligible for married housing allowances because federal law defines marriage as between a man and woman.
Unmarried couples — gay or straight — are not allowed to live together in base housing.
See, the women needed more money to be able to afford the housing, so they sought out male Marines who would be willing to marry them. The two found Cpl. Jeremiah Griffin and Cpl. Joseph Garner who were both willing to jump into matrimony with the women so that the couples could reap the benefits of a $1,200 per month housing allowance meant only for wedded Marines.
Aside from the bad-conduct charges, Vice, Griffin and Garner ended up getting fined $5,000 each and they were sentenced to confinement for between three and six months. The three were a part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and were based at Camp Pendleton.
This same punishment could not be applied to Murphy, who is not in the military and is, thus, not subject to such regulations.