Last night President Obama spoke at a fundraiser in LA for Senator Barbara Boxer. In what I see as a very refreshing turn of events, LGBT activists repeatedly heckled a clearly irritated Obama with calls for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Obama tried to calm the hecklers by claiming that both he and Boxer are on their side. Really? So what’s the holdup then? Here’s the video of the speech.
The action starts around 2:00 and then the crowd allows Obama to speak for a bit, then the heckling starts again. This time, the President asks the chanters “Do you wanna come up here?” It’s about time Obama started facing some tough audiences!
At the Atlantic, Chris Good reports: “Gay Rights Advocates Support the Heckling”
Two of California’s top gay-rights leaders said the heckling was by no means out of line.
“I think getting heckled is nothing compared to getting kicked out of the military and losing your job and getting fired simply because you’re gay, because there’s no federal protection, or getting denied Social Security benefits because the administration has made no effort to repeal DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act] and has actually defended it in court,” said Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors. Kors said he didn’t know the protest was going to take place.
“I think people are getting very, very frustrated that we have a president who promised to be a fierce advocate and the most pro-LGBT Senate and Congress int he history of the country, and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell hasn’t been repealed and DOMA is still the law of the land,” Kors said.
Today, several Get Equal activists were arrested for chaining themselves to the White House Fence.
Six people in military uniforms, including Lt. Dan Choi, handcuffed themselves to the North Lawn fence of the White House today to protest the fact that the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy has not been repealed.
U.S. Park Police cleared the area and used chain cutters to place the demonstrators under arrest, CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller reports.
Choi, at left, is an openly gay Iraq war veteran and West Point graduate who has emerged as one of the most prominent critics of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which bars gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. Choi, who announced he is gay on television last march, was also arrested for chaining himself to the White House fence last month.
If you’d like to join Get Equal in their fight to repeal DADT, here is their website.
I’m sorry these folks were taken in by Obama’s act, but I’m very impressed with the actions they are taking now. It’s time for all of us to speak out and express our anger in civil, but attention-getting ways.
You can treat this as an open thread.