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Gay Marine from Miami Beach, Walker Burttschell, among first to shake Obama's hand after signing

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Walker Burttschell, a gay Miami Beach man discharged from the Marines in 2003, shook Barack Obama's hand moments after the president signed repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell.'

"Great,'' Burttschell said of the moment. "That’s the least I can say. It was overwhelming. It’s a part of history. To see the president sign it and say it’s done was amazing."

Burttschell, 28, said the White House invited him to the signing this weekend, after the Senate voted Saturday to repeal 'don't ask, don't tell.' The House voted to repeal last week.

He arrived in Washington on Monday night and the next day attended a House ceremony at the Capitol, in which Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave him a gold coin with the speaker's seal on one side, her signature on the other.

Tuesday morning, Burttschell attended the signing ceremony with a close friend -- a gay active-duty Marine major still in the closet.

Burttschell said that immediately after Obama signed the repeal, the Marine major "grabbed me and dragged me down the aisle."

The closeted Marine reached out to Obama. "The first person to shake his hand was a Marine who was not out until today. A powerful statement,'' Burttschell said. "He introduced me to the president as a Marine and [Obama] said, 'Good fight, Marine!'

Burttschell enlisted in the Marines the day after 9/11 and was expelled two years later, after someone hacked his e-mail account and found proof that he is gay. He left college and returned to South Florida, where he volunteered with several organizations that fought to repeal 'don't ask, don't tell.'

"It’s been up and down," Burttschell told The Miami Herald Wednesday morning. "I’m so glad I can shut this door and move on. Not just for me, but for the major who is still serving. That’s what I’m most proud of."

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He is ready to enjoy life. Do not forget the vasiline.

"It’s been up and down," Burttschell told The Miami Herald Wednesday morning.

I bet it has.

We are all bearing witness to the rapid decline of the United States of America. The acceptance of the gay lifestyle precipitated the downfall of the Greek and Roman empires. What a disgrace!

Get a life, Zig! This is a day that will be remembered well in history. ALl men and women are created equal...and now it's for real!

What's a gay lifestyle?

Zig: ZIP is your IQ.

“The acceptance of the gay lifestyle precipitated the downfall of the Greek and Roman empires.” Are you serious? You don’t think that the fall of the Roman Empire was led by political corruption, economic problems, and a series of leaders that were more interested in their personal gain rather than the welfare of the people they were representing. It seems to be that those issues are what we are all truly bearing as witness to and not the acceptance of the gay lifestyle. This signature is accepting that men and women, regardless of sexual orientation, can commit to a life to protect you without having to eradicate their self-being. I commend those leaders who repealed and eliminated such an ignorant policy to begin with.

Zig: Considering that homosexuality was embraced prior to and all through the hight of these anchent empires, and many golden ages they had, it really is ignorance that your posting from.

It would be more accurate, though just as incorrect, to say that the Roman empire fell into ruin after they embraced the Catholic church. Incorrect still, as Alex points out the real reasons, but from a historical time line far more accurate.

I think that this is WONDERFUL!!!! We are talking about sexual orientation here correct? This has absolutely NOTHING to do w/ those who wish to protect and serve our country! It should have never been an issue to begin with. Too bad it's taken this long to rectify something that in it's simplest form is called.........IGNORANCE!!!!

And just like that...I'm getting out. I'd hoped they'd kick this can down the road and hold out until I got back from my deployment though.

It is Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. Perverts.

Zip is correct. Social lowering of standards are the core of the breakup of society. Those who do not know history are destined to repeat it. Also as you now allow women on combat ships and duty under the guise that nobody will get pregnant and therefore lower your readiness status, or do other social experiments with the military. You might as well have co-ed barracks and no separation of the genders any more. If gay men, who by definition are attracted to other men and see them in the same way as straight men see women, why have women be in a separate bedroom or shower? Omnisex military is is then! I am glad my service was done before all of this craziness took place. Political correctness wins out over rational, logical thought and just plain common sense.

I was in the Marines and I am certain that there were gays serving next to me. I had not problem with it because they were not in my face about being gay. This signing is symbolic and means nothing to the every day grunt. Nothing!

Gays that come out openly will be tormented, assaulted and some may never be heard from again. I know how the USMC works and it is Darwinism at its finest to say the least... it has to be that way to survive their charter and mission.

Today's headline makes the liberals and gays happy. Next year the headlines will be about Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen on trial for hate crimes. What a shame.

THE BIBLE SAYS IN ROMANS CHAPTER 1:18-32 THAT EVEN THOSE WHO APPROVE SUCH ACTS ARE THE SAME AS THOSE WHO COMMIT THOSE ACTS. WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS AND ANIMALS ARE DOING MUCH BETTER THAN US HUMAN BEINGS... THEY KNOW THEIR MATES!!!!!mAY GOD BE KIND...

Why does a Marine, kicked out of the Corps, get invited to get wined and dined by the white house but real Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen, doing this country’s work get the lowest pay raise since the 60’s. Priorities?

This is nice but who cares?! Most every modern nation abolished such laws long ago. Wouldn't our resources be better served if we used them to create jobs instead of beating on one another?

THe Bible is the Bible. Interpreted, written, by fallible humans with their own "take", for centuries.

God is God, all Knowing, all Loving, and the only time He was angry was when he encountered hypocrites in the temple.

All of the sexual scandals in the military to date; all of the torturing that involved sexual assaults, etc; and all of the unmarried pregnancies, extramarital affairs, etc., have not, so far, been perpetrated by homosexuals. There are many "such acts" of varying kinds, rampant in all society. Everyone has equal responsibility to conduct ourselves within the norms and conduct of human society.

If any of that behavior in the Marine Corps begins, as described in the post by LD, that will be cause for dismissal and without benefits, and may even result in a change in command at the top and do not think for a minute that it would be kept quiet and not investigated to the fullest.

"And just like that...I'm getting out. I'd hoped they'd kick this can down the road and hold out until I got back from my deployment though."

Good bye and so long :)

The Bible also speaks of a talking snake and donkey. If I brought this to someones attention now they would think I have mental illness!

TO ZIG: You are totally ignorant of history. Roman Emperor Theodosius I ended all Pagan worship in 391AD and by decree, Christianity became the state religion of the entire Roman Empire. When the Roman Empire (both West/Rome and East, which included Greece) fell, it was a Christian nation. You need to study and learn historical facts before you put your ignorance on-line for everyone to see!

you got that right even the dumbest animal knows it's mate.Political correctness has always screwed up things in this country I wish the goverment would mind there own Business and defend this country from its enemies foreign and DOMESTIC!!!!

"Why does a Marine, kicked out of the Corps, get invited to get wined and dined by the white house but real Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen, doing this country’s work get the lowest pay raise since the 60’s. Priorities?"

Nope, Budgeting.

"Next year the headlines will be about Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen on trial for hate crimes. What a shame."

These you talk about are the worthless kind, the puppy tossing, inmates pilling dickheads no army needs.

The USMC needs hardcore warriors, note pansies scared over something as trivial as sex.

@Zig, I'm gay and this is my lifestyle.

I've worked hard for the Pentagon for 11 years. My partner of 16 years is a civil servant of 20 years and was awarded as the best in the world at his job. Nearly everyone in the country is aware of his work. We are just finishing up a complete gut-job renovation of a historic home. We live in the city and pick up all the trash off the streets in our neighborhood every day. In fact, as a hobby I go to parks to pick up trash because it keeps me healthy and if not me, then who? We shovel the snow for the entire block because it is so highly traveled and no one else does it. We took in my niece and nephew after they ran away from home from my Christian brother. We gave $25,000 to a good friend to get her through the housing crisis who would have lost her house while she had three people in wheelchairs living there. I can't remember the number of times we have helped others because of our handyman skills, replacing roofs, re-plumbing houses, building wheelchair ramps, you name it. We recycle as much as possible. We donate regularly to causes (I just donated to fight breast cancer this morning and we don't even have breasts). Quite frankly I'm sick to death of hearing about how immoral we are on a daily basis when in fact we are exemplary citizens.

If that is the behavior that portends the end of society, then I hesitate to think of what it takes to make one succeed.

For what it's worth, we are both hard atheists as well. I wish more of us would speak up.

in many years, just like with blacks, we will look at this day and think, "my God, we were so stupid for discriminating against gay people". People who want to fight for our country. How stupid and immoral it is to be hateful.

Whatever happened to love your neighbor, and where is the love that the bible preaches, NOT HATE! We are not the ones who can place judgement.

Also we need to be thankful to those who serve our country, it is because of them that we have no draft! Be thankful and don't HATE!!! You are no better than a racist!!!

DADT repeal affects bisexual, pansexual, and other altersexual persons even though the news outlets characterize this as a win just for "gay servicemen and women". I thought this was about overcoming sexual prejudice.

Let's not forget, transgender are still barred from serving in the military. So in reality, the discrimination continues.

You know everyone wants to bring up God when you mention homosexuality but you also say that God has made your plan and knows exactly what path your life will take. If that's the case then He (being God and all) made every human being the way they are and obviously accepts them due to him making them that way. So why don't you guys go back and study your religion a little bit better because I (being a homosexual myself) obviously know it better than you. And you the hell are any of you to judge any other person. Isn't that a no no in the Bible too? Oh damn I caught you on something.

WHAT WOULD BRIAN KINNEY SAY? :)

Prove to me pictures or people who are alive that it was adam and eve, also you so called christans doesn't the bible say judge ye not unless ye wants to be judge? Yes it does so I judge u for being a hypocrites bc u are no more a christan than I. Its not your place to point fingers. the first without sin cast the first stone. Y'all aren't without sin so I think the ones who like to point fingers need to read the bible and be more christan than what ur speaking. Be smart and know what your talking about. Sit on ur thumbs.

Actually homosexual behavior in animals is extremely common, especially in mammals but also in non-mammals and even among invertebrates. Humans just are not that special... Even in terms of intelligence.

Look it up if you don't believe me.

There are gay relationships in the animal kingdom all over the place.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_animals_displaying_homosexual_behavior

Now when will the microscope be placed over the heterosexuals that regularly sexually abuse their own fellows-in-arms?

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m73130&hd=&size=1&l=e

You want disgusting? ^Doesn't get more disgusting than that.

I wonder how much of our tax dollars went in to the funding of Nancy Pelosi's gold coins with the speaker's seal on one side and her signature on the other.

And now we have it, a government stamp of approval on perversion! I wonder what they will let us get away with next year?

Leave Zig alone, he can't even spell "height" or "ancient." Never argue with a moron.

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality,[c] wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving,[d] unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

Well done, America. Our country's great struggle for equality and justice continues, however erratically.

Most Americans are okay with this. Most service members are okay with this; it's really only the hypocritical moral minority (a group which seems to win an outsized number of political jobs) that's tied up in knots over this. Get over it.

What a disgrace... today I'm ashamed to be an American. What's next Sarah Palin. JESUS!!!!!!!!!!!

"The acceptance of the gay lifestyle precipitated the downfall of the Greek and Roman empires."

_________________________________________________

Actually you moron, Ceasar was bisexual. It is when the Christians took over that the empire flourished, do your research.

"God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality,[c] wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving,[d] unmerciful;"

====================================================
So God hated those Israelites because they had become like Republicans?

Yea, I don't know about the tansgender thing, just wait till the marines figure out the girl they slept with used to be a dude. That's not gonna go over well.

Are you joking?? Most service members are not ok with this, I am one of them!! Most that I talked to are afraid of backlash from speaking out. I can say I have written every person that voted yes and complained about their decision. I will not stop until GAYS ARE OUT!! I dont want them and refuse to be apart of a armed force that does! Dont belive me it wrong read the bible!!

"Next year the headlines will be about Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen on trial for hate crimes. What a shame."

Actually I think next year the headlines will be about the number of same sex sexual harassment cases, and maybe more people will come out about the cases of same sex rape and sexual assault.

As it goes right now the guidlines are to not have seperate bathrooms or community showers based on sexual preference and since military sexual harassment is based on perception (probably the same in the coorperate world, except without having to be naked around eachother) I'm thinking people will probably percieve, whether rightly or not, that openly gay people are viewing them in a sexual way. The same way a naked woman in a shower with a man probably would.

I think this is a covert military decision made to make battle easier for the US troops.
While in battle the boys can pull up their dresses and show their pierced, chained thingy and the girls can pull down their pants and show their strap on thingy to the enemy. The enemy will fall on the ground laughing uncontrollably and then they can shoot them while incapacitated.

Adam and Eve are make believe characters from the greatest Bullsh*t story ever told. Try to think for yourselves, don't rely on fairy tales

@John - Military pay is determined by the "Employment Cost Index", which is calculated on how the economy is doing. They got a bad pay raise because the economy sucks.

The President has no discretion in the matter as it is automatically calculated BY LAW, approved by Congress, and passed to the President to sign. All he can do is refuse to sign it. Congress can increase it at their discretion. Congress chose not to do anything about it.

And he got invited to the White House to witness the signing of the bill because he's a gay Marine who got booted out because he was gay. It's relevant. Duh. What are they going to do, bring in the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders?

LD, I'm straight, and a grunt, and I knew a few gay Marines too. No one cared in any of my units either. As for what will happen to those that come out now and the lawsuits and shame that will follow... I have an idea of what you're talking about, and I don't doubt it will happen. But undisciplined, ignorant Marines who assault, torment, and kill their fellow Marines (for any reason) should be prosecuted under article 134 or lined up and shot based on what they did. The Corps survives on Honor, Courage, and Commitment, not Darwinism. If you soil your honor by bashing/baiting/tearing down your fellow Marine for any reason, you don't deserve to be in.

nov284... who cares dude. You're replaceable.

Segregate the Mo's into their own Company's and send them in the first wave of bullets, with the commander in chief out front. The pussification era is now in effect.

a gay Marine, what an oxymoron

you people fail to grasp one simple fact. Gays and Lesbians have been allowed to serve since '93. The military has continued to function just as it had before.

This means you owe thanks and respect to gay veterans as well as straight.

The repeal of DADT just means that the government is finally showing these servicemen and women the respect that all who serve should get.

You of the lifestyle may want to refresh your memory on Article 125 of the UCMJ. Carefully note its wording, be aware that heterosexuals have been prosecuted and punished under its provisions.
As a devout polygamist I look forward from the support I'll surely receive from your community to overturn the unfair Articles that prohibit me from free exercise of my lifestyle. After all, I was born this way.

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