Homosexual Marine Accused of Sham Marriage for Benefits
Three US Marines at Camp Pendleton stand accused of entering sham marriages to obtain access to financial benefits. It all started when a homosexual Marine wanted to live with her girlfriend but “couldn’t afford it:”
[US Marine Corporal Ashley] Vice told CNN affiliate KGTV in San Diego that she wanted to live off base with her girlfriend, Jaime Murphy, as a couple. Murphy is a civilian.
But on her salary, she couldn’t afford it.
So she says she found a Marine, Jeremiah Griffin, who agreed to marry her so she could receive the $1,200 per month living stipend the Marine Corps gives to married couples living off base.
Her homosexual partner eventually married a third Marine, Joseph Garner, for the same reason. Vice has told the press the three will likely face jail time, since they are unable to pay back the funds they are accused of getting fraudulently.
Ultimately, the military’s response has nothing to do with homosexuality; if a heterosexual pair had entered a fake marriage to get access to funds, they would be similarly charged. Vice reportedly admitted outright to what the Marines are calling fraud:
Vice said she was questioned by the Marine Corps about the living arrangements.
“I honestly didn’t even try to hide it,” she said. “I just said this is what’s going on. They asked me who Jaime is … I told them.”
The incident isn’t strictly about homosexuality, and it isn’t strictly about marriage, despite more than one article repeating an inaccurate statement:
Only married couples are eligible for the $1,200 a month housing allowance.
That’s not true.
Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) at Pendleton is $1395 for an E-4 (Corporal) without dependents. Vice would have been entitled to that allowance whether she was married or not — if she was allowed to live off post.
Most single Marines below the rank of E-5 (Sergeant) aren’t authorized to live off base. The Marine Corps has been attempting to reduce their budget by requiring single Marines to live in the barracks — which is far cheaper than having them live off post on the government’s dime. In some cases, single Marines can choose to live off base, but they must still maintain their barracks room (sometimes called “ghosting”), and because the military is providing them housing on base, they are not entitled to the housing stipend. So they can live off base — if they can do so on their own pay.
Contrary to the news reports, the housing allowance is not “only for married couples,” though the Marines may restrict the number of single Marines authorized to live off base.
Marine Cpl. Ashley Vice says she and two others have been charged with conspiracy, making false official statements, fraud and adultery… [emphasis added]
So a homosexual Marine in a fake marriage is being charged with adultery for cheating on her fake husband. Talk about moral confusion.
Naturally, some will argue that if Vice had been allowed to marry her homosexual partner and then received benefits, none of this would have happened — meaning they were unwitting victims, forced into this tragic and terrible position.
This argument may soon be overcome by events. Proponents of DADT repeal have attempted to allay concerns over issues like homosexual marriage benefits — or avoided the topics altogether — by saying the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) makes the discussions moot. However, President Obama’s administration has said DOMA is unConstitutional and will no longer defend it in court (even just days ago).
Cases like this will likely be used as proof that DOMA is making US troops ‘lie about who they are,’ and the campaign will continue. Few will remember these troops are breaking the law:
“It doesn’t matter what their sexual preferences are, if they’re violating the law and making fraudulent use of government money, they will be held accountable,” [Marine Corps Air Station Miramar spokesman 1st Lt. Maureen] Dooley said.
From the point of view of the US military, that sounds like equal treatment under the law.
Update: A heterosexual Sailor was similarly charged for a sham marriage.