GetEQUAL & gay vets protest DADT, handcuff selves to White House fence

Posted on 16 Nov 2010 at 7:44am

UPDATE @ 9:35 PM: Great news. Nine of the protesters have been released. It looks like all 13 will be out tonight.
UPDATE @ 6:01 PM: Just learned that the lawyers have spoken to the information officer at the United States Park Police at the Anacostia Headquarters. The police have confirmed that all thirteen arrestees are being processed at the Anacostia station. The protesters will most likely be held overnight so they can see a judge in the morning/early afternoon tomorrow.
The third protest of the day over DADT repeal is currently underway at the White House. There are 13 protesters on the fence in front of the White House. There was a heavy police presence in front of the White House and they have cleared the area. There are even police horses on the scene.

UPDATE @ 3:30 PM: All 13 protesters have been removed from the fence — and arrested. Via Tweet from CBS News reporter Mark Knoller:

US Park Police cut the protestors chains and arrested each of the protestors, who insisted on being carried to patrol wagon.

Apparently, the handcuffs were superglued and the protesters engaged in passive resistance, thus had to be carried.  Here is Chris Johnson’s piece about the protest.

Here are some initial photos:

Another photo of the protesters yelling to the White House:

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


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