Reservist with sign talks reactions & repercussions
|Updated: 8/03/2012 8:55 am
||Published: 8/02/2012 9:39 pm
On Wednesday, FOX23 interviewed Luke Wallace, a uniformed Army Reservist standing alongside Memorial Drive in Tulsa with a sign that read “I Support Gays.”
FOX23’s Adam Paluka posted a picture of Wallace with that sign on his fan page and within a day the picture was shared from his page more than 350 times had more than 1,000 likes. On Thursday, FOX23 caught up with Wallace to ask how the reaction to his sign and stance had played out since we first interviewed him. “People needed somebody to get the ball rolling for them, and then they aren't afraid anymore,” Wallace said. He held the sign up for five hours and he said he was surprised by some of people who reacted to his gesture. “There was an ex-solider; he came up in tears to me because he saw it on Facebook. That almost brought me to tears too,” Wallace said. Not everyone has been supportive. On social media he's gotten some backlash. “(They’ve told me) you're an idiot, you should be sent to Fort Leavenworth for this, this is so stupid, you shouldn't even be alive.” Wallace says his time in the service helped him realize gay people can't enjoy the same freedom straight people can. “Going overseas and defending everybody's freedom just opened my eyes a lot more to that,” he told FOX23. Luke’s show of support may not go unpunished by his Army superiors. “I know you can't wear the uniform in protest of anything, but I didn't know you can't wear it in support of something.” He will find out his military punishment on Friday, and on Thursday evening he was at peace. “I knew I wouldn't have made as big of an impact if I was just to wear civilian clothes,” Wallace said, “I will accept whatever they give me, and I'll still feel the same about this.” Wallace’s impromptu roadside sign has earned him the support of many in Tulsa’s gay community. “I was quite surprised. I was impressed though,” Toby Jenkins, Executive Director of Oklahomans for Equality told FOX23, “It was encouraging to see someone in uniform say I will defend all of you if aggression raises its head against you.” It's also made Wallace realize that his voice, even when he doesn't say a thing, can carry far and wide. “After this, I really don't think I'll be that shy anymore,” Wallace said. Wallace says he's not done supporting gay rights, he says on Friday he'll be at a south Tulsa Chick-Fil-A protesting the company's stance on same sex marriage.
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