BREAKING: GetEqual protesting Obama DADT inaction at high-$ fundraiser in Miami by air, land and sea; sending weather balloons over NBA star’s home; three boats of protesters and press underway

UPDATE: 6:30PM – GetEqual protest makes the White House pool report – this is big, because it means the story will now go nationwide – the pool report also confirms that the guests at the dinner can hear GetEqual’s bull horns:

At the reception in a “small” white tent around the back of the house, Rep. Chris Van Hollen was touting Democrats’ accomplishments before a small crowd when pool got there. Compared it with New Deal, Great Society. Covered health-care bill, student loan overhaul. Says things have gotten better on economy.

“The president needs a Congress that is going to work with him…it is now halftime in the first time of Barack Obama’s administration…dos the Miami Heat quit at halftime?” Crowd cheers.

POTUS takes the stage to applause. Mistakenly refers to Ron Klein as Ron Klain and apologizes. Ron Klein is inside the home.

As he is speaking, air horns can be heard across the bay, and pool is told by a GetEQUAL spokesman that they are activists protesting the administration on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Appear to have several small boats, at one point pool can hear some yelling. Some members of the audience look over but noise is not loud enough to disrupt and POTUS continues uninterrupted.

POTUS says economy is begining to recover because lawmakers were willing to take tough votes. Says: “The question in this election is not whether or not things are where we want them” but who will take us there.

They said no each and every time…they don’t have new ideas.”

Hits GOP Pledge to America. “They’re selling the same snake oil they were before.” says the 700B to pay for the wealthy tax cuts would be borrowed from China and Saudi Arabia.

Uses the ditch analogy yet again. It’s muddy, R’s tell Dems they aren’t pushing hard enough — you know the drill. “We’ve got to tell them in this election you can’t have the keys back. You don’t know how to drive!”

Says he and Democrats won in 2008 because of voters who want the American dream.

“That wasn’t the end of the dream. That was only the beginning of the dream.” Implores people to help get out the vote. POTUS spoke for about 12 minutes.

Pool is told the Miami Dade police have circled the GetEQUAL activists’ boats and sirens can be heard.

Now at main dinner tent awaiting a second set of remarks.

UPDATE: They’re in a tent. The fundraiser is a dinner, taking place in a tent, by the water, 500 feet away from GetEqual’s 3 boats that are going crazy with bullhorns and loudspeakers. There is no way the dinner guests aren’t listening to this.

This is the 40 foot banner on boat number two:

UPDATE: 6:10PM the three boats of protesters and media are now 500 feet from the shore at Alonzo Mourning’s home, and are shouting on bullhorns with an extra strong speaker system, and are also broadcasting the President’s own words promising gay rights advances that he has refused to deliver.

Obama’s limo driving by protesters. This is when he cracked the window and waved.

One of the weather balloons released near the Obama fundraiser.

UPDATE: 5:42PM – Robin McGehee of GetEqual, who is on one of the boats heading for Mourning’s house, has just texted “Mission Accomplished.” We assume this means she has reached the position in the water off of the house, and the action is underway, including bull horns, weather balloons with signs, 40ft signs saying “stop the discharges now,” and an extra large/loud sound system booming quotes of the President himself making gay rights promises. All of this underway under the watchful guise of two boats full of media, including the Miami Herald and all the local Miami TV affiliates, and two Spanish stations.

UPDATE 5:37PM: The three boats of protesters and media have just rounded by the bend and are within 5 minutes of reaching Mourning’s house.

UPDATE: President cracked limo and waved to GetEqual protesters, so he definitely saw the signs and protesters.

GetEqual’s press release explains what they’re up to today – the press release reads in the past tense, when in fact the actions are ongoing:

“DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL” ACTIVISTS CONFRONT PRESIDENT OBAMA BY AIR, LAND, AND SEA AT NBA STAR’S FUNDRAISER IN MIAMI
GetEQUAL, along with a group of Florida and national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender activists, surround Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning’s house demanding President sign Executive Order Stopping Discharges

MIAMI, FL (October 11th, 2010)– Earlier Monday evening from 5:00 pm until 6:30 pm (ET), GetEQUAL, a national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, and other Floridian activists, unleashed a barrage of protests by air, land, and sea targeting President Obama for his failure to sign an executive order barring gay and lesbian servicemembers from being discharged under the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.

President Obama attended a star-studded Democratic Party fundraiser at NBA star Alonzo Mourning’s bayfront estate. During the hour and a half President Obama was at Alonzo’s home for this big-money, Democratic Party fundraiser, LGBT activists confronted him at every turn, demanding he finally show some leadership and stop the discharges of openly gay and lesbian servicemembers by signing an executive order. Video and photos from today’s action will be released shortly and will be available at: www.getequal.org and www.youtube.com/getequal.

BY LAND

As the Presidential motorcade drove into the private estate located in Coconut Grove, activists held four 10 ft. signs demanding President Obama “End the Discharges Now,” and reminding him that “We’ll Give When We GetEQUAL”. The LGBT activists were stationed on the motorcade route directly outside of the private estate and at a park roughly a quarter of a mile down the road.

Inside the event, Democratic congressional candidate and Army veteran, Anthony Woods, who was discharged under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, approached President Obama to inform him what the protests were about, and to remind him of his campaign promises. [NOTE FROM JOHN: This didn't happen because the White House refused to let Woods attend the even.]

BY SEA

While the President was inside the private fundraiser, another round of protests were unleashed from the bay just outside the event. From the bay abutting Mourning’s home, a second swarm of LGBT activists arrived by boats with two 40 ft. signs and shouted via bullhorns “End the Discharges Now” and “We’ll Give When We GetEQUAL”.

BY AIR

During the second swarm by boat, LGBT activists also launched two, large 8 ft weather balloons carrying 10 ft. long banners reading “GetEQUAL.org”. Those weather balloons were anchored in the water directly in front of the tent hosting the dinner reception and highly visible to guests.

The Advocate reveals that the White House turned away an African-American former congressional candidate, Anthony Woods, from the fundraiser. He thinks it was because he had been discharged under DADT. More from Kerry Eleveld:

A group of LGBT equality activists working to end “don’t ask, don’t tell” launched an elaborate protest early Monday evening as President Barack Obama attended a private Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fund-raiser in Miami, FL, at the home of NBA star Alonzo Mourning.

As the president headed toward Mourning’s Coconut Grove residence where donors had paid as much as ,000 and ,000 per person to see him, members of GetEqual, a national LGBT rights organization, along with local activists intended to line the street holding four, 10-foot signs that read “End the Discharges Now,” and “We’ll Give When We GetEQUAL” – a reference to the group’s recent campaign encouraging people not to donate money to either the Democratic or Republican parties or their campaign committees until the president signs an executive order immediately stopping the discharges.Video of GetEqual and media – one of three boats just launched – heading towards Mourning’s home and Obama fundraiser.

Three full boat-loads of press and protesters have now launched, and are heading towards Mourning’s house by sea….

UPDATE FROM JOHN: Obama has just driven into the estate, and according to witnesses on the ground, the President absolutely saw the protesters.

NOTE FROM JOHN: I’ve just been informed that GetEqual is in the process of protesting the President’s high-dollar fundraiser at the home of Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning. GetEqual members, and local Florida allies, are at this moment lining the streets, protesting the President’s inaction on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and GetEqual has just launched a weather balloon with a GetEqual banner hanging from it – the balloon is drifting in the direction of the Mourning bayside mansion where the fundraiser is being held, and where Obama is currently heading.

Below is GetEqual’s Robin McGehee speaking with reporters near Mourning’s home.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

SERBIA: Riot Police Clash With Violent Anti-Gay Protesters At Belgrade Pride

Serbian riot battled hundreds of neo-Nazi anti-gay rioters at Belgrade Pride today, fighting back against hurled Molotov cocktails with stun grenades. Over 100 injuries were reported and almost 200 rioters were arrested.

Thousands of police officers sealed off the streets in the capital where the march took place, repeatedly clashing at several locations with rioters who were trying to burst through security cordons. Several parked cars were set on fire or damaged, shop windows were broken, garbage containers were overturned and streets signs destroyed. Several shops were looted before police restored peace late afternoon. The anti-gay rioters also fired shots and threw Molotov cocktails at the headquarters of the ruling pro-Western Democratic Party, setting the garage of the building on fire. The state TV building and other political parties headquarters were also attacked, with many of the house windows shattered by stones. The protesters, chanting “death to homosexuals!” hurled bricks, stones, glass bottles and stun grenades at riot police. Police responded by firing tear gas and deploying armored vehicles to disperse the charging protesters in the heart of the capital even after the brief pride march ended.

The president of Serbia denounced the attacks, saying, “Serbia will guarantee human rights for all its citizens, regardless of the differences among them, and no attempts to revoke these freedoms with violence will be allowed.” Serbia’s Minister of Justice said that those arrested face up to eight years in prison. Early reports don’t indicate whether any of Belgrade Pride’s attendees were injured. Last year’s pride parade was canceled over the threat of violence.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

4,500 protesters ‘completely surrounded’ Mormon HQ in Salt Lake City

Very impressive turnout to protest the hateful, homophobic rantings of the Mormon’s President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (also categorized as a Prophet), last night:

Organizers estimate a crowd of 4,500 people completely surrounded the two blocks of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints administration building and Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City in protest of Boyd K. Packer’s remarks during the church’s semi-annual General conference last weekend.

Organizer Eric Ethington addressed the crowd before the crowd walked to the protest area.

“We are every color of the rainbow,” Ethington said to the crowd. “And we are tired of watching our children die.”

Ethington, founder of PRIDE in Our Community, called the rally after Packer, president of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, made the remarks during a sermon against same-sex marriage and pornography. Packer stated that the LDS Church would always oppose same-sex marriage, said that gays and lesbians could change their sexual orientation to straight, and compared homosexuality to “a habit or addiction that is unworthy.”

Parker is a prophet in the view of his church. He wanted this attention. He brought it on himself and his church. Since the Prop. 8 debacle, the Mormon leaders have tried to hide their homophobia. But, Parker couldn’t help himself. So, the Mormons are back in the spotlight. So be it.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Man bearing resemblance to Jesus prevents burning of Quran in Amarillo city park

The other day we told you about the leader of a right-wing group in Amarillo, David Grisham, who planned to publicly burn a Quran on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. Grisham tried to go through with his plan, dousing a Quran in kerosene and placing it on a barbecue grill in a city park. But protesters, many from the local Unitarian Universalist congregation, blocked Grisham from setting fire to the book. According to the below report, some placed their hands on the grill to deter Grisham from lighting it. Then Jacob Isom, shown above, snatched away the Quran while Grisham wasn’t looking.

—  John Wright

Westboro Protesters Pepper Sprayed

GeorgeVogelx390 (Screengrab) | Advocate.comOmaha police arrested a man for spraying mace into a crowd of Westboro Baptist Church protesters and counter-protesters at the funeral of a U.S. marine on Saturday.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright

Stay of Prop 8 ruling prompts protests on a day when gay marriages would have resumed

Nine protesters were arrested Thursday morning following a sit-in at the San Diego County Clerk’s Office, where a gay couple requested a marriage license. The couple had scheduled their appointment prior to a federal appeals court’s decision earlier this week to put same-sex marriages on hold until at least December. Sheriff’s deputies eventually showed up in full riot gear (shown above) to arrest the nine protesters, who are members of the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality. More pics from the protest can be found here. According to the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, supporters have called an emergency rally for 5 p.m. outside the jail to protest the arrests and demand the activists’ immediate release.

Meanwhile, up the road in West Hollywood, a rally is planned for 6 p.m. Thursday night at Santa Monica Blvd. and San Vicente Blvd. From the Facebook event page:

Although Judge Walker’s decision was a victory for Prop 8 opponents, the fight is NOT over. Do not let that victorious feeling make you complacent! Let it be known that we will remain vigilant and active until marriage equality is restored in California!

UPDATE: Here’s some video of the San Diego protest:

—  John Wright

Another Target protest video

“Good afternoon, Target shoppers. When shopping at Target, know that your money is fueling hate and discrimination. Today’s bigot special: Two-ply toilet tissue, because when you’re full of shit like Target is, you need something to wipe with.”

Watch how angry the store managers look when they kick out the protesters! When’s someone going to make one of these in Dallas?

Via ngblog.

—  John Wright

GetEqual Now joins protest in Orlando

C.d. Kirven

Dallas activist C.d. Kirven and Get Equal Now joined Stand Up Florida to protest an appearance by National Organization for Marriage in Orlando, Florida.

In the picture, Kirven was leading a prayer and asked “Who would Jesus hate?”

NOM’s recent protests have attracted few people so instead of outdoor demonstrations, they have moved their anti-gay rhetoric indoors, speaking in churches.

The counterprotest outside the church also included Courage Campaign, Come Out Orlando, Florida Together, Human Rights Campaign, Queer Activist Coalition, ISO, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and Metropolitan Community Church, among others.

Members of Get Equal Now and Stand Up Florida first met in Dallas in June when the group from the Sunshine State traveled to Dallas for the ExxonMobil protest.

Kirven said two NOM supporters were outside the church and about 10 were inside. Courage Campaign counted 150 NOM protesters.

One sign that read “Tradition is a Choice” referred to the accusation by conservative religious groups that homosexuality is a choice. Religion is a choice that is constitutionally protected.

“We had a victory in California and we are standing together for marriage equality today,” Kirven said at the rally. “This is not a battle between homosexual against heterosexual. This is a battle of justice against injustice. I would love to sit down with Dr. King who attended NOM’s Atlanta protest to begin a sisterhood between our communities. We must and will be free. Get Equal Now!”

—  David Taffet

Is Target’s pro-gay image getting tainted?

Target has a, well, target on its back from the gay community.

The bargain retailer that claims “unwavering” support for gay rights — it contributes annually to the Twin Cities Gay Pride Festival in Minneapolis, where Target is based, and has lines by the likes of gay designer Issac Mizrahi — has been tagged for contributing at least $150,000 to a a group supporting a Republican candidate for governor of Minnesota who is considered right wing even by Texas standards: He supports Arizona’s strict immigration law and opposes same-sex marriage. (Some people are even more pissed because the candidate, Tom Emmer, has also supported a ministry by an anti-gay Christian rocker named Bradlee Dean.)

Naturally, the gay community is incensed, even though the contribution is completely legal. Some activists and Democrats are calling for a boycott of the store. My question is: Why are we surprised?

I don’t believe for one minute that Target is, as a corporation, supporting this candidate because it believes gay marriage would be bad for business. Nah, they support him because he would run their home state and have a say in cutting taxes, etc. It’s a business decision.

Should we be angry? Support a boycott? I’m not sure. After all, what would we say if conservatives tried to boycott Target for its support of gay pride events? What if those protesters were successful? I’m not happy about it, but to me, the support is directed not at a single issue (for instance, gay marriage) but a candidate with a wide range of positions — none of which I agree with, but there you go. Keep in mind: Candidtae Barack Obama didn’t support gay marriage … nor did almost all other candidates on the Dems’ side (almost — Clinton and Gore came out in favor… in 2009; too little, too late). Now, if Target contributed to, say, enacting Prop 8, or donated to Westboro Baptist, well, that’s different. And the Bradlee Dean connection? Do we now base our decision on Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon?

Anyway, what do you think? Will a contribution to a political candidate in another state affect your shopping habits? Should it affect mine?

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Get Equal Now protests Texas GOP platform

Protesters outside Blue Mesa Grill

A group of protesters from Get Equal Now braved the rain to protest the Texas Republican Party and its anti-LGBT platform on Thursday evening.

WBAP talk show host Mark Davis was the keynote speaker inside the Blue Mesa restaurant, at the meeting of a Hispanic Republican group.

Get Equal Now’s Chastity Kirven and Michael Robinson had reservations for the restaurant but were denied service. They were escorted out of the restaurant by Dallas police officers.

“We were met with security who escorted us off the property because they said we would be a threat to the event,” said Robinson. “C.D and I made dinner plans at Blue Mesa that evening at 7 p.m. and were refused service after confirming our reservation. Well at least we know we are a threat to them.”

Once escorted to the street, where they were allowed to protest, the group chanted “Gay, Straight, Black or White! Same struggle, Same fight!”

Kirven wrote to Dallas Voice:

“This protest today by Get Equal Now is a stand against oppression politics. The TX GOP’s divisive platform only creates divides that bind minority communities together. Whether its immigration reform, LGBT issues or an attempt to miseducate our future by rewriting the past in Texas schoolbooks, the platform leaves no room for inclusion and attempts to legalize bigotry. We will stand together and turn this red state blue.

“This is just the beginning and the gloves are off! We are not going to allow the TX GOP to legalize homophobia. We had a win with the federal judge finding parts of DOMA unconstitutional. We are in this to win this because it is about our lives, our families and our allies. We will GET EQUAL NOW!”

—  David Taffet