Reed says Gates memo prompted him to join latest action outside White House
Dallas activist Mark Reed was one of six LGBT activists arrested after chaining themselves to the fence around the White House during the May 1 rally to demand a 2010 repeal of "don’t ask don’t tell." The rally was organized by the direct action groups GetEQUAL, Queer Rising and Talk About Equality.
Reed, a member of GetEQUAL, said he hadn’t even planned on being in D.C. last weekend. Then he heard Lt. Dan Choi’s "Truth or Consequences" speech at Harvard University last week on the Internet, which inspired him to book a flight for the rally.
As he was en route to the capital, Reed got wind of Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ letter to Congress, in which Gates strongly urged lawmakers not to repeal DADT this year, delivering a major blow to the cause. That’s when Reed volunteered to be one of the six civilians who would chain themselves to the fence during the rally.
"Reading the Gates memo on Friday really made me angry and it convinced me that Obama really, truly wasn’t behind us, and that letter was providing a cover for politicians not to promote a repeal of DADT this year," Reed said. … "We need to ratchet up the pressure and let them know that we’re not going to take it anymore."
Reed spent 24 hours in jail before being released following a court appearance on Monday, May 3.
After appearing in court, Reed was ordered to pay a $100 fine before being released. His case is closed, and he won’t have to return to D.C. for court. But that’s not to say he won’t be back there for other reasons.
"Absolutely, I’d do it again, and I hope others join us," Reed said. "I think that these actions may help and they may not, but I’ll tell you what, if nothing else is working, and if it doesn’t get repealed this year, at least we can say we tried our best to bring attention to it."
This article appeared in the Pride Weddings 2010 special section in the Dallas Voice print edition May 7, 2010.