FACT CHECK: Was US Senator Mitch McConnell Court-Martialed in 1967 For Sodomy?

After making the rounds on the internet for years, an unfounded rumor has surfaced yet again with claims that US Senator Mitch McConnell was court-martialed for "sodomy" after serving in the Army Reserve in 1967 for some time.

According to Snopes.com, it all began when McConnell's brief stint in the military was highlighted as a campaign issue in 2008. To quickly resolve the problem McConnell showed his military service record to a reporter from the Lexington Herald Leader.

After reviewing the service records and documents provided by McConnell and the National Archives, the newspaper explained that as he had won a discharge from the Reserve after five weeks of active duty, McConnell had not spent much time in uniform as a Private. He was later granted an honorable discharge for a medical condition called optic neuritis that compromises vision and can only be treated by steroids, the newspaper mentioned.

US Sen. Mitch McConnell
US Sen. Mitch McConnell Twitter

From this story, it is clear that questions raised by McConnell's political opponents on his time in the military as well as on his political connections aiding him in the campaign in the late 2000's prompted the rumors in the first place, because there is no evidence to support the claim that he was court martialed.

These rumors, which are entirely built on conjecture, had already started making rounds on the internet in 2004, by a blog called the Left Coaster. The most recent claim cropped up in 2013 by a blog hosted by the liberal political site Daily Kos.

In case of the sodomy rumor, it is believed to have emerged from a piece of 'copypasta', an internet slang that refers to the copy pasting of any text by users, duplicating content from the original post. This unproven copypasta cites a purported story published by a Lexington postal clerk named Alan Lynch as reported by Snopes.com

US Sen. Mitch McConnell
US Sen. Mitch McConnell Twitter

The essential details of the story don't really add up. The claims suggest that McConnell was arrested and court-martialed but his records clearly mention that he received an honourable discharge. Another factor that dismisses the rumors is the duration of the court martial, which cannot be completed so quickly, McConnell's five weeks of active duty do not allow for an arrest, investigation, trial and finally conviction to occur.

Hence, there exists no evidence supporting the claims of McConnell's court martial in 1967 for sodomy.

Related topics : Fake news