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DEVELOPING: 13 GetEQUAL Activists Chain Themselves To White House Fence To Demand DADT Repeal

by David Badash on November 15, 2010

in Civil Rights,Legislation,News,Politics

Post image for DEVELOPING: 13 GetEQUAL Activists Chain Themselves To White House Fence To Demand DADT Repeal

Editorial note:

This is a developing story. Stay tuned for updates throughout the day. See updates below.

At 2:00 PM, right on schedule, thirteen GetEQUAL activists chained themselves to the White House’s fence to protest “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and to demand the Senate vote to repeal the unconstitutional law.

Via GetEQUAL’s press release:

The 13 veterans and repeal advocates arrested today include:

* Five veterans (Lt. Dan Choi, Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen, Cpl. Evelyn Thomas, and Cadet Mara Boyd) who were arrested back in March during the GetEQUAL organized “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” act of civil disobedience at the White House fence demanding President Obama show leadership on repeal.
* Robin McGehee, co-founder and director of GetEQUAL, and Dan Fotou, action strategist for GetEQUAL.
* Former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Miriam Ben-Shalom, who was discharged in 1976 for declaring and admitting she was a lesbian. She became the first-ever LGBT servicemember reinstated to her position in the U.S. Military, by a U.S. Federal District Court. On July 30th, 1993, Miriam and 26 other protesters were arrested at the White House fence for protesting then-President Bill Clinton’s broken promise to repeal the gay ban – instead signing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” bill into law.
* Former U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Justin Elzie who, in 1993, became the first Marine ever investigated and discharged under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. Elzie was also the first soldier to be discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to fight his discharge and win – resulting in his service as a Marine for four years as an openly gay man.
* Former U.S. Army Arabic Linguist Ian Finkenbinder, who was discharged from the Army in December 2004 after announcing to his superiors that he was gay. Finkenbinder is an Iraq war veteran and was about to return for a second tour of duty when he was discharged.
* U.S. Army Veteran and Repeal Advocate Rob Smith, who was deployed to both Iraq and Kuwait before being honorably discharged after deciding not to re-enlist in the U.S. Army due to the added pressure of living under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.
* Father Geoff Farrow, a Catholic priest who spoke out against the church’s official stance in support of California’s Proposition 8, removing the rights of same-sex couples to marry. Because of his courageous stance against Prop 8, Father Geoff Farrow was removed as pastor of St. Paul’s by his bishop and suspended as a priest.
* Scott Wooledge, a New York-based LGBT civil rights advocate and blogger who has written extensively on the movement to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” at Daily Kos and Pam’s House Blend.
* Michael Bedwell, long-time LGBT civil rights advocate, close friend of Leonard Matlovich, and administrator of the site


2:27: PM: Joe Sudbay at AmericaBlog has photos.

2:39 PM: GetEQUAL reports via Facebook, “Police gave first warning – we will not be moved!! Shouting, “WE WILL NOT BE MOVED!”

2:43 PM: GetEQUAL tweets, “Those on the fence are chanting “President Obama, do the right thing!” while Secret Service give multiple warnings #getequal #speechadvice

3:01: PM GetEQUAL tweets, “Those on the fence are chanting the names of Robin’s kids, the reason she’s doing this work #getequal #speechadvice

3:05 PM: Robin McGehee, others, reportedly taken off fence and into custody.

3:14 PM: Reports coming that all protestors have now been removed from the fence. Stay tuned for more details.

3:20: Following photos courtesy of Brad Luna

3:25: Video of Lt.Dan Choi, other activists:

3:44: Lez Get Real, and Edge, D.C. report all 13 have been arrested.

Image at top: Chris Geidner.

Also, visit Talk About Equality for more photos.

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LOrion November 15, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Thanks for list! I don't see Cindy McCain there?! (or Meghan for that matter). But lots of fb friends..guess they cant chat with handscuffs on!

Charles March 18, 2011 at 1:45 am

These people are our Heroes and and will go down in history. We need many more brave people like these to take a stand and fight for our rights, peacefully. You too can go down in history as a hero if you take a stand for justice and equal rights and that may mean like many civil rights movements before us that we take to the street to demand our equal rights. Our God loves all and with his help we can be victorious. All are welcome to join in our fight for freedom in America to get the same freedom and justice we were promised by our forefathers, also our own families who gave their lives to fight oppression around the world in all of the wars America has fought in. God Blessed All Americans

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