A controversial fraternization charge involving a lesbian couple at Naval Station Great Lakes in Illinois has been dismissed.
Chief Petty Officer Sabrina Russell had been facing a court-martial trial for her relationship and civil union to Petty Officer 1st Class Jodi Geibel.
Navy policy prohibits relationships between service members of differing ranks in the same command.
But Russell's attorney Eric Montalvo argued that such relationships are common in the military. He said his client was targeted because she was a lesbian and because Geibel reported a sexual harassment complaint within the command.
Lt. Matthew Comer, a spokesperson for Naval Services Training Command, previously told Windy City Times that the charges were unrelated to Russell's sexual orientation or the harassment complaint.
"It's the fact that they're at the same command and that in itself is how fraternization works," said Comer had said. "It's a violation of Navy policy. We have to investigate all accusations of that violation."
But a military judge granted Montalvo's request to dismiss the case on the grounds that prosecutors failed to prove the relationship was "prejudicial to good order and discipline," according to a Chicago Tribune report.
According Montalvo, Russell and Geibel began dating when the two were still the same rank. Russell never supervised Geibel, he said.
Montalvo said the relationship was made public after another service member discovered a photo of the two on Russell's phone and began sharing the image.