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With a showdown at the UN that all signs say will have a major long term impact Middle East policy, DC deep in debate and analysis of the President's proposed "Buffet Rule," and the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee announcing an investigation into the White House trading massive government loans for political contributions, the main stream media seemed obsessed with reporting the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and a gay servicemen coming out to his father on Youtube.
Now as the mainstream media euphoria of the news in principle begins to subside, the reality of the situation is getting reported. The New York Times writes this morning from Tulsa, OK, where Marine recruiters are wasting no time in looking for recruits at one of the city's biggest gay centers.
"The Marines were the service most opposed to ending the 'don’t ask, don’t tell' policy, but they were the only one of five invited branches of the military to turn up with their recruiting table and chin-up bar at the center Tuesday morning. Although Marines pride themselves on being the most testosterone-fueled of the services, they also ferociously promote their view of themselves as the best. With the law now changed, the Marines appear determined to prove that they will be better than the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard in recruiting gay, lesbian and bisexual service members."
At Tulsa's Dennis R. Neill Equality Center, recruiter Marine Master Sgt. Anthony Henry told NBC 2 that gay or straight, he is looking for a certain type of recruit.
"We're looking for 18-24 year old males and females that are mentally, morally and physically tough."
"There's a segment of the population that previously we did not have access to or did not have access to us that now has the opportunity to serve their country," Sgt. Henry went on to tell NBC 2.
Since Don't Ask, Don't Tell was adopted in 1993, 14,000 military members have been discharged for announcing their sexual orientation.
"This is a historic day," said the Neil Center's Executive Director Toby Jenkins to The Tulsa World. "I wanted to have something to commemorate it. But I also wanted our community to think about our rights and that one of our rights and responsibilities is defending our country."
The Times reports that by 3 p.m. Tuesday only three women had wondered into the center, "none ideal recruits." One of the three was the niece of the late benefactor of the gay rights center, who had scars up her left arm from cutting herself in high school-- something that usually leads to immediate medical disqualification form the Marines.
Despite the less than overwhelming turnout of interested recruits, The Times reports that the center's friends and members appreciated Sgt. Henry and the Marines coming to the center.
“'Toby said there were cute guys in uniform here,' said Cecilia Wessinger, 46, a longtime friend of the center, who wandered in about 2 p.m. She thanked Sergeant Henry for coming and acknowledged that she was surprised to see him. A few hours later, Kelly Kirby, 57, a retired Air Force sergeant, thanked Captain Sipe. In the 1970s, he said, his boyfriend had been discharged from the Air Force, but he himself had not been discovered, and the memory still haunted him."
With the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" all 14,000 homosexual military members that were discharged since 1993 have the opportunity to re-enlist.
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