"What you do behind closed doors is fine," he said. "I just can't see ... being open about it, that's all."
As new patrons filtered into the dining area, we decided to put one of our servicemen in plain clothes to see if anyone would stand up for his boyfriend in fatigues.
The adjustment made little difference to Arthur Smith, a Vietnam veteran who interrupted our instigator's complaints to shake hands with our soldier. Smith thanked the "serviceman" and called him a hero, even after he discovered the soldier was gay.
"It doesn't matter to me whatsoever," Smith said. "I believe ['don't ask, don't tell'] might be a little better, but if it's brought out in the open and he's with me, and he's in a line with me, both of us will do our jobs. It's necessary, or we both die."
We wondered what would happen when we switched our actors and swapped out the gay men for gay women. Will anyone stand up for two lesbian soldiers showing affection in public?