Adult magazines are displayed in a special, partially blocked-off area of a store at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. (Courtesy of Morality in Media)
Adult magazines including Playboy, Penthouse and Nude are permitted for sale on military installations because they do not meet the definition of indecent material under federal law, a top Pentagon official said.
Frederick Vollrath, assistant secretary of defense for readiness and force management, made that response to a complaint from Morality in Media, an anti-pornography group that complained in June about the sale of those publications on Defense Department property.
The group contends that the display and sale of adult magazines in military exchanges amounts to a violation of the Military Honor and Decency Act of 1996, which prohibits the sale or rental at military exchanges of material in which “the dominant theme ... depicts or describes nudity, including sexual or excretory activities or organs in a lascivious way.”
Vollrath responded to the group with a July 22 letter saying that a review board had looked at those magazine and concluded that “based on the totality of each magazine’s content, they were not sexually explicit under [the federal law].”
Morality in Media released the letter from Vollrath, saying the response “would be hilarious if it were not so tragic.” The group said it does not understand “why the Pentagon will continue to sell porn magazines despite being in the midst of its unprecedented sexual exploitation scandal.”