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Out Marine Speaks on Vandalized Billboard

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A billboard featuring former U.S. marine Tim Smith was torn down Friday night in Memphis, Tenn. The ad showed Smith, 27, in uniform and read, "I'm gay and I protected your freedom."

The serviceman, who was kicked out of the military under its "don't ask, don't tell" policy, says he was shocked when he received news about the vandalism. "It was more or less shock and then it turned to righteous indignation and anger towards whoever had done it and that the act had even been committed," Smith told WPTY-TV.

The billboard was one of five rented by the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center to promote National Coming Out Day on October 11.

Smith, a student at the University of Memphis, says the billboard will be replaced "as soon as the materials and prints come in," reports the local ABC affiliate.

Memphis police are investigating the incident as a theft of property and have not yet classified it as a hate crime.

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