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Three Marines in San Diego ousted for sham marriages

October 17, 2011 |  4:55 pm

Sham

Three Marine corporals have been given bad-conduct discharges after pleading guilty to sham marriages meant to allow a lesbian couple to receive housing allowances, the Marine Corps said Monday.

The Marines -- two men and a woman -- were assigned to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and based at Camp Pendleton. The fourth person in the sham marriages is a civilian and thus untouchable by military law, officials said.

Cpl. Ashley Vice and her partner, civilian Jaime Murphy, said they needed the housing allowances so they could afford to live together in an off-base apartment "like a normal couple."

Vice and Murphy each found a male Marine willing to marry them so that they could get the $1,200 a month housing allowance meant for married Marines, officials said.

Along with the bad-conduct discharges, Vice, Cpl. Jeremiah Griffin and Cpl. Joseph Garner were each fined $5,000 and sentenced to confinement from three to six months. The three pleaded guilty to stealing from the government through fraud.

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.

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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Cpl. Ashley Vice (left) and civilian Jaime Murphy. Credit: Associated Press

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