Michael Hamar

Navy Prosecutes More Sailors Who Married to Hide Sexuality

Filed By Michael Hamar | July 19, 2011 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: gays in the military, government, married men, religious based discrimination, U.S. Navy

court house norfolk.jpegThe Virginian Pilot is reporting that the Navy is continuing its witch hunt for LGBT service members who married to hide their sexual orientation and local individuals have been arrested. The Navy's premise is that they unlawfully received benefits that married couples receive when a spouse is a member of the military. Sadly, the same effort to weed out sham straight marriages doesn't seem to be materializing. I don't necessarily condone the actions of these sailors, but had they not been faced with potential persecution and expulsion from the Navy because of religious-based discrimination, they likely would never have entered into these marriages.

And compared to the huge amounts of money ripped off by military contractors - who mostly go completely unpunished - and the monies squandered daily by the military (e.g., the senior brass constantly redecorate their offices and discard the old furnishings), we are talking pennies on the dollar. Here are highlights from the Pilot story:

Two men pleaded guilty Monday to arranging three phony marriages, including one with a Navy doctor, so they and their wives could get more pay and health care benefits and so they could conceal their sexual orientations from the Navy. The men, long-time live-in boyfriends, received tens of thousands of dollars in benefits they weren't entitled to.

[...]

Jeffrey H. Marshburn, 50, and retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Kristopher Graham-Marshburn, 45, both of Hampton, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to make false claims against the United States. Graham-Marshburn had his name legally changed, court records say.

The conspiracy began nearly 20 years ago while Marshburn and Graham Marshburn, then a petty officer third class and a corpsman, were living in Beaufort, S.C. Marshburn arranged a phony marriage with an unidentified woman so the woman could obtain health care benefits and Marshburn could get an additional housing allowance.

[...]

In 1995, Graham-Marshburn arranged his own phony marriage for the extra housing pay. His then-wife, who was not identified, received health benefits for her and her son. In 2000, he listed Marshburn as his brother and named him a beneficiary of his death benefits.

Graham-Marshburn admitted that he remains married but has never lived with or had sex with his wife and that his primary motivation to marry was to conceal his sexual orientation from the Navy.

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