Memphis gay community rallies following billboard vandalism - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis gay community rallies following billboard vandalism

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The Memphis gay and lesbian community held a rally Sunday in support of a local gay marine at the center of a hate crime.
   
A prominent billboard at Poplar and High Streets in Downtown Memphis featured former marine Tim Smith in uniform and read, "I'm gay and I protected your freedom."

The billboard was ripped to shreds by vandals just days after it went up. 
    
Smith was a guest speaker at Sunday's rally at First Congregational Church in Midtown.

"And this community banded together that we're not going to be silenced. If you tear it down, it's going to go back up," he said. "And we're gonna raise awareness all the more higher, just because of an action that you thought would scare us." 

Smith was discharged from the military under the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.

The billboard, which promotes National Coming Out Day this month, has since been replaced.

Memphis police are investigating the vandalism as a hate crime. One week later, no one has been charged.

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