Crime | Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Memphis | Military | News | Tennessee | Vandalism

Memphis Rally Set as Gay Marine Speaks About Damaged Billboard

Tim Smith, the discharged Marine who appears on the Memphis billboard which was destroyed by vandals over the weekend, spoke out about it to KLTV:


"It felt like somebody had violated the honor and commitment that we as military veterans feel about our service. [The billboard gives a voice to] all my brothers and sisters in uniform who are part of the gay community who aren't able to speak for themselves. I think now the community has been shocked, but shocked into further action. The billboards will be put back up."

A rally is planned for 1 pm on Sunday at First Congregational Church at 1000 S. Cooper Street in Memphis.

Said Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center Executive Director Will Batts: "Protest in anger really just kind of stir up the anger, but protest with a purpose, which is what ours is going to be, is to use that feeling to do things in the community, to speak out, to encourage other people to come out in the community who may not have been comfortable up until this point."

Watch FOX Memphis' interview with Bates, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Now all of a sudden, when a serviceman comes out, all these so-called patriots aren't so patriotic anymore. Shall we call those people traitors, just as they would if any straight servicemen or women were attacked?

    Posted by: Jack M | Sep 29, 2009 11:31:35 AM

  2. I'm glad this made it out of the gay blogs and into the het news.

    The purpose of ripping down the sign was to silence us. Now they had the opposite effect. I'm loving it.

    Posted by: Nathan | Sep 29, 2009 10:36:34 PM

  3. Best of luck with that. Gay visibility, especially in a red state like Tennessee, is a tough thing to come by. But now that it's wrapped up in the American flag, maybe it will get some legitimate attention. I'm hoping for the best.

    Posted by: Steve | Oct 1, 2009 6:10:19 PM

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