EXCLUSIVE: DWTS Contestant J.R. Martinez on the End of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: “It’s About Time”

Before he was a TV star, J.R. Martinez was an infantryman in the U.S. Army. During his deployment to Iraq in 2003, the Salvadoran served as a Humvee driver, and when his left front tire hit a landmine, Martinez suffered burns to more than 40 percent of his body. Since then, the Army vet has undergone 33 cosmetic and skin graft surgeries.

Introducing 'Dancing With the Stars' Contestant J.R. Martinez

Given his army background, we asked Martinez his thoughts on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell officially ending. Here’s what he had to say:

“You know what, I think it’s very cool, man. It’s about time that if men and women are going to volunteer to join the military and put their life on the line for this country, you know, they need to feel comfortable that they could be themselves, too. And I know it’s one of those things that a lot of people still don’t understand, but at the end of the day it's like, listen, love has no color, love has no age, love has no race—it’s just love. And if people have that love for each other, who cares? And so I think it’s amazing that the government, the military, acknowledged that and said, you know what, it’s time for us to give our troops the complete satisfaction of knowing that they can be themselves and still serve their country at the same time. “