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South Florida Marine Applauds Repeal Of DADT

MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) - For seven years, Walker Burttschell of Miami Beach has been fighting to end the ban on gays in the military. Wednesday morning, he watched history unfold right in front of him.

"You know, my whole life I wanted to be an officer in the Marine Corps. I was in college to be an officer," said Burttschell.

He became a marine, but seven years ago, he was discharged under Don't Ask, Don't Tell when someone broke into his e-mail account and outed him as a gay marine.

"For me to drop out of school to defend my country because of 9/11, and for them to say, we don't want you because you're gay, that's devastating," he said.

Since then, Burttschell has rallied against the policy on the streets of South Florida. Wednesday morning, he was one of 500 invited to the Department of the Interior to watch as President Obama overturned the ban on gays in the military with the stroke of a pen.

"We are a nation that believes that all men and women are created equal. Those are the ideals that generations have fought for. And now it my honor to sign this bill into law," said President Obama. "No longer will tens of thousands of Americans in uniforms be asked to live a lie, or look over their shoulder, in order to serve the country that they love."

Today, Walker Burttschell is just as patriotic. He was able to meet his Commander in Chief following the ceremony.

"The President shook my hand and said, 'Good job Marine.' And when he said that, it was amazing. It was an amazing experience," said Burttschell.

The President encouraged service members who were discharged under the policy to re-enlist once the repeal takes effect. Burttschell says he'll do just that.

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