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Dozens Rally In Miami For DREAM Act, Don't Ask Issues

MIAMI (CBS4) -- The Senate delayed a vote on the DREAM Act this week and rejected open debate on the Defense Authorization Bill, which includes the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

On Saturday dozens took to the streets of Miami to bring attention to both issues, hoping the Senate makes a move to resolve key issues this week.

For several protesters, it was personal.

"I'm a United States Marine, and I'm gay," said Walker Burttshell, a discharged U.S. Marine.

For Burttshell, Don't Ask Don't Tell couldn't be more personal.

"The day after September 11th, I dropped out of school and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Two years later, someone broke into my e-mail, and found out I was gay," he said. "I was ashamed. For years, I thought I had failed, and for seven years since I've been out of the Marine Corps, I've been quiet about it."

Burttshell joined dozens of others in front of the Miami Beach City Hall for a rally organized by Save Dade, an organization focused on community activism.

The protestors want the Senate to consider two pieces of Legislation: the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell that would allow gays to serve openly in the military and they also want the Senate to consider the DREAM Act. That act would grant young illegal immigrants a path to citizenship if they go to college or join the military.

"The DREAM Act is the pathway to my dreams," said Frida Ulloa, who says she's an undocumented immigrant.

Ulloa says that when she graduated from high school, she realized she couldn't go to college right away.

"That was a very sad moment in my life. It was very stressful and very depressing," she said.

Now Ulloa and others at the rally hope that the Senate considers the DREAM Act and the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell before Republicans take over the House of Representatives early next year.

"This is it, we have one more chance. Next week, we have one more chance," Burttshell said. "I hope that our senators have enough courage to stand up in supporting the rights for everybody."

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