Dan Choi and five other gays and lesbians who were thrown out of the military chained themselves to the White House fence today, demanding that President Obama make good on his promise to end DADT. From GetEQUAL:
"Moments ago, Lt. Dan Choi along with five other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) discharged veterans—Capt. Jim Pietrangelo II, Petty Officer Larry Whitt, Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen, Cadet Mara Boyd, and Airman Victor Price—handcuffed themselves to the White House gates to demand that President Obama keep his promise to repeal 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' this year. The vets are concerned about mounting signs that the President is wavering on his promise to push for repeal this year."
Said Choi: “We are handcuffing ourselves to the White House gates once again to demand that President Obama show leadership on repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ If the President were serious about keeping his promise to repeal this year, he would put the repeal language in his Defense Authorization budget. The President gave us an order at the Human Rights Campaign dinner to keep pressure on him and we will continue to return to the White House, in larger numbers, until the President keeps his promise to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ this year.”
The first time Choi chained himself to the fence around the White House it was him and one other vet. This time it's Choi and five other vets. A new phase in the gay rights movement—the era serious civil disobedience era—has arrived. It's time. Last June I proposed a campaign of organized civil disobedience by gay couples focused on the White House:
Here's the idea: one gay or lesbian couple—a couple currently denied their rights under DOMA—shows up at the entrance to the White House grounds. A different couple every day. They ask to speak to the president about DOMA. They're refused. They sit down. They refuse to leave. They're arrested, carried away by the police. Couples would be recruited from all over the country, demonstrating that gay marriage isn't just an issue in liberal California or godless New England, and the media in each couple's home city and state would be notified in advance of their arrest. The occasional famous couple—Rosie and Kelli? Ellen and Portia?—would participate to pull in celeb media. But most of the couples who come to D.C. to get arrested would be average folks. The couples would need support, legal and logistical, and we would need someone to organize media outreach and maintain a website. The website would include a photo and profile of each couple that comes to D.C. to get arrested, collect all the press, and be used to recruit couples willing to travel to D.C. and get arrested.
The action would be small scale—it would be human scale—and it would go on and on and on. It would demonstrate better than another gay march just how seriously we take this issue: we take it seriously that we're willing to travel to D.C. and get arrested. It wouldn't be a one-day event that the White House could ignore or bluff its way through with some lame statement about its "commitment" to ending DOMA. The couples would keep coming. Every day an arrest. Drip, drip, drip. Members of the White House press corps would see couples getting arrested every day on their way to work. Gibbs would be forced to address DOMA on a near-daily basis. The president would be asked about the issue again and again.
My boyfriend—who doesn't do demonstrations (or interviews or photos or anything public)—is so upset about the DOMA brief that he's willing to go to D.C. and get arrested. So am I. We can't be the only couple that feels this way.
We have to make ignoring our demands and breaking their promises—on DADT, ENDA, DOMA—more trouble for our "friends" in the Democratic party and the White House than making good on their promises ever could be.