Gay Group's Publicity Stunt Garners Times' Attention

Two weeks after the fact, the Times feels the need to publicize three gay men turned away from enlisting in the Army.

A political stunt by a gay rights group makes the front of the paper's National section Thursday: Lizette Alvarez's "Gay Groups Renew Drive Against 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'" (including two photos) begins:

"The three young men who tried to enlist at an Army recruiting station here appeared to be first-rate military material.

"Two were college students, and the other was a college graduate. They had no criminal records. They were fit and eager to serve at a time when wars on two fronts have put a strain on American troops and the need for qualified recruits is great.

"But the recruiter was forced to turn them away, for one reason: they are gay and unwilling to conceal it."

"The gay rights group Soulforce," which is organizing a national campaign along similar lines, isn't given a political label by Alvarez, although its opponents are: "On the other side of the divide, Elaine Donnelly, president of the conservative Center for Military Readiness, said permitting gay men and lesbians to serve openly would prompt recruitment rates to drop and disrupt unit cohesion, a linchpin in the decision to allow gay troops to serve only in silence."

The Times is a bit late on this story: ABCNews had it back on August 31, though the Times waits until the third-to-last paragraph to acknowledge that the protest happened last month .