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Civil Disobedience Against Military Ban at the White House

Posted by libhom Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Obama speaking with the word bigotry under himBarack Bush's heterosexism is resulting in increasingly strong reactions in the queer community. From GetEqual's 11/15/10 Press Release:

Washington, DC – This afternoon, three generations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender veterans and advocates went back to the White House fence to call for the U.S. Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid, and President Obama to make good on their promises to secure the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” during the abbreviated, lame-duck session of Congress that started today.

During the direct action organized by GetEQUAL – a national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization – and local activists, 13 veterans and advocates handcuffed themselves to the White House fence in an act of non-violent, civil disobedience protesting the un-American, discriminatory law yet to be repealed by Congress — regardless of the numerous promises by President Obama, Congressional leaders and national LGBT leaders that they would do so by the end of this year.

I'm glad that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is in fright quotes. The actual policy was defined to increase witchhunts against queers in the military and it did just that. Subjects of these witchhunts do not have to say they are LGBT in order to be discharged under the policy.

I find the list of people who were arrested to be quite interesting.
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 www.leonardmatlovich.com.

So many of these people were military personnel. Farrow's presence also is intriguing. It was fascinating that he was removed as a priest for being accepting of people for having sex with adults.

I hope that the more conservative queer activist groups will face the reality that our movement cannot rely on or trust any politician. We need to fight for our rights no matter who is in power. Real progress will require a sustained, unrelenting effort.



  1. Dave Dubya Says:
  2. By now it is painfully clear Obama is a go-along-to-get-along corporatist company man. He has ignored the Bush/Cheney crime spree, ramped up war, and failed to dismantle the police state built by both parties in the last eight years. He's turned his back on so much of his base, he is likely to give up the White House to the Guardians Of Plutocracy in 2012.

    Political calculation is not audacity, it is not hope, and it is not change. I wish I could be hopeful of Obama finding some courage and leadership in the next two years. I cannot.

  3. Christopher Says:
  4. President Barack Obusha has lost the support of the LGBT community.

    True, the champagne queers of the HRC in Washington DC and silly nitwits like John Aravosis still clamor to be patted on the head by Mr. Obusha, but the vast majority of the gay community is done with the president.

    Let's see him get reelected in 2012 with an increasingly tiny pool of supporters.



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