CHICAGO (WBBM) – A Chicago man says he was kicked out of the Marines four years ago under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Marquell Smith, 29, says the end of the policy will mean some changes in the military. But nothing like the dire consequences suggested by some opponents of opening the armed forces to gays.

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“Can I understand that that would be disruptive? Yes. But do I believe that it is going to cause people to lose their lives? Absolutely not,” said Smith.

Smith, who is African American, compares this to the civil rights movement.

“This is one of those times. And we will look back and say, ‘I can’t believe we didn’t allow gays and lesbians to serve openly,'” he said.

Smith says he probably will not try to re-enlist, but he hasn’t ruled it out.

He’ll get a college degree in June from DePaul University. And then maybe go on to the Peace Corps.

Smith says the memory of what happened to him is still fresh.

“That had a significant impact. To be treated worse than people who have done crimes, that didn’t feel good,” he said.

Smith says he was forbidden from doing his daily work routine. He says that wasn’t the case with others who were being discharged for crimes.

“I saw people who did drugs, people who stole and people who raped people that were treated much better than I was,” he said. “And when I say much better, they were not restricted from doing their day-to-day job.”

Smith says he knows of at least 10 gay men and women in the military now, and he says this is a great victory for them “and for the American people.”

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