Video, Photos, Report:
Lt. Dan Choi and Cpt. Jim Pietrangelo Arrested After Chaining Themselves to White House Fence in ‘DADT’ Protest

Choi  

Developing…refresh for updates below…(images via twitter)

Lt. Dan Choi, Captain Jim Pietrangelo, and activist Robin McGehee of GetEQUAL were arrested earlier today following a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" rally thrown by the Human Rights Campaign which featured Kathy Griffin. 

While different versions of events are being offered (see bottom of post), Lt. Choi spoke at the rally and asked participants to join him on a march to the White House. Choi led hundreds of people from the rally to the White House where he and Cpt. Pietrangelo cuffed themselves to the fence while the crowd rallied around them. Shortly thereafter Choi and Pietrangelo were cut from the fence and arrested by police. During the minutes leading up to their arrest, activist Robin McGehee of GetEQUAL was also arrested.

Kerry eleveld of the Advocate reports, in a Tweet, that Choi and Pietrangelo are being held in jail overnight and will appear tomorrow in court:

 "Police Spokes says Choi/Pietrangelo will be held overnight and appear tomorrow in DC superior court."

*****

NOTE: The following post was constructed as it happened, mostly via Twitter, which gives it its "timeline" form and somewhat disjointed narrative.

UPDATE: Late breaking statement from HRC at bottom.

According to Tweets from Robin McGehee at GetEqual (see stream below) reporting from the Kathy Griffin – Human Rights Campaign "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" rally, McGehee, who is traveling with Lt. Dan Choi, asked Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese if Choi could speak at the rally and he rebuffed her, telling her it was Kathy Griffin's rally.

McGehee is the co-director of the National Equality March and the organizer of the Meet in the Middle 4 Equality rallies in California.

Rally
(above photo: Ty_DC twitter)

Choi took the stage anyway, told Griffin "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is not a joke, and announced that he was marching to the White House. Choi then began leading hundreds to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Choi_march  

12:50 pm: Reports are now coming in that Choi has chained himself to the White House fence.

"Until we have full equality," Choi reportedly says.

Choi and Captain Jim Pietrangelo are reportedly both handcuffed to the White House fence.

Choi  

1:10 pm: According to DC Agenda's Tweet, "Yellow police tape is being put up around Dan Choi, and Secret Service agents are standing with him. Choi remains chained."

Choi3  Approximately seven Secret Service Agents are inside the tape with Choi.

Reportedly one woman has been arrested, and is being identified by DC Agenda as the co-chair of GetEqual – which would be Robin McGehee.

1:21 pm: According to D.C. Agenda, police are not attempting to disperse the crowd and 20 Secret Service are on the scene. A crowd of 50 is chanting "Keep your promise, Obama" and "Repeal DADT".

1:27 pm: DC Agenda reports that there appears to be a stand-off between Choi and security. No effort is being made to arrest him.

1:32 pm: DC Agenda says the crowd has shrunk to 30 people.

1:37 pm: DC Agenda reports that people have been directed to stand at Lafayette Square. Two Secret Service officers are speaking with Pietrangelo and Choi, and it's not clear what's happening.

GetEqual's Robin McGehee was the woman arrested, it is confirmed. According to @MichaelsThought on Twitter, McGehee was shouting, "Get equal! You want your rights?! The fight for them!" 

Photo: 

Mcgehee2  

And here's a photo of Robin McGehee being arrested:

Mcgehee  

1:44 pm: DC Agenda reports a female woman "is kneeling in the crowd with hands raised, praying for the souls of gay people."

Here is the first video posted of the crowd:

Here's what Dan Choi said at the rally – HIS REMARKS – right before he took the crowd on the march to the White House.

Wh  1:48 pm: Joe Sudbay at Americablog reports via Twitter that the crowd in front of the White House is growing.

1:55 pm: Police just informed the crowd that everyone must leave the sidewalk in front of the White House or be arrested, according to MetroWeekly. Choi and Pietrangelo are the only two remaining.

1:58 pm: Lt. Dan Choi and Captain Jim Pietrangelo have been removed from the fence and arrested.

2:02 pm: Choi and Pietrangelo get cheers from the crowd as they are put into police van. Crowd applauds them as heroes.

AmericaBlog has some great coverage from on the scene.

Tweets Michelangelo Signorile: "Dan Choi took HRC's and @kathygriffin 's celebrity photo op and turned it into a real protest at White House. And they stayed behind."

CNN and MSNBC seem to have totally ignored this protest. However, as the protest was happening, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was holding a press conference in the Rose Garden. A reporter asked him if they were given a heads-up that there was civil disobedience happening outside.

Said Gibbs: "No heads up that I'm aware of, and I don't believe there's any meetings scheduled today."

2:19 pm: Kathy Griffin, who either disappeared or was advised not to follow Choi after the HRC rally, tweets…

Griffintweet  

Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese was reportedly nowhere to be seen during the Choi action either.

HRC blogged about their rally late this afternoon, offering an explanation for why Solmonese and others stayed at the rally (was there any rally left after Choi departed?) and did not accompany Lt. Choi and Captain Pietrangelo to the White House: 

"There’s been some confusion about Lt. Dan Choi’s role in the rally. As Joe Solmonese was walking to the stage, Lt. Choi asked Joe if he could have a speaking role. Joe explained that it wasn’t his sole decision to make on the spot given that there was already an established program that included Kathy Griffin, other organization and veterans. After Choi then spoke with Kathy Griffin, she agreed to bring him up on stage and speak to the crowd during her remarks.
Lt. Choi in his speech called on the crowd to march on the White House. Joe Solmonese along with Eric Alva and others felt it was important to stay and engage those at the rally in ways they can continue building the pressure needed for repeal. This does nothing to diminish the actions taken by Lt. Choi and others. This is the nature of social change and everyone has a role to play."

AmericaBlog says HRC is lying

"That is simply untrue. I was there, standing next to Dan, about 10 feet from Kathy Griffin and Solmonese. They were behind a rope line, to keep them from the rally attendees. They looked over at Dan when he asked them, for the second time, to come with him to the White House (mind you, they had no idea that he was planning to handcuff himself), and they just stared back at him. They were not helping engage the rally about how to build pressure – the rally was over, they were already off the stage, behind it actually, getting ready to leave behind a secure rope line to separate them from the crowd. I'm sorry, but this statement is flat out untrue. They were getting their photos taken. Unbelievable."

ABC is one of the first MSM reporters to cover the story: "An Iraq war veteran and vocal opponent of the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy was arrested by police officers after chaining himself to the front gate of the White House, in apparent protest of that policy."

CNN Coverage (at 3:10pm):

AP Raw Video:

BELOW: Robin McGehee's Twitter stream prior to her arrest, as the Choi White House action was getting underway:

Mcgehee
 

Comments

  1. Norm D PLume says

    Once again, Joe Solomonese and HRC show how anti-gay they are and how unwilling they are to do what it takes to win equality. Folks, it’s time to kill HRC and use their vast amounts of cash to really fight for and win equality. Joe, how does Obama’s asshole taste?

  2. Glenn says

    I applaud Dan for what he’s doing, but I fear he has now handed the military a perfectly bona fide reason for discharging him without regard to DADT. Seems like a strategic error to me, but maybe he knows what he’s doing.

  3. DR says

    HOORAH, Lt Choi! Show HRC we need real gay men and women speaking out for us, not some hag to turn the effort to repeal DADT into some sort of joke!

  4. says

    was just over at Pam’s House Blend checking the tweet of Joe Sudbay…you gotta read this;

    Lt. Dan Choi heads to white house to fight for DADT. Griffin and HRC’s Solmonese stay for photo ops. Welcome to gay DC.

  5. says

    Just came from the protest – Choi did chain himself to the fence along with another soldier. One woman has been arrested and the security began to swarm the crowd as soon as Choi took out the handcuffs. The protest is amazing and still going after i left. One woman screamed at me about God but I wrote her off.

  6. libsechumanist says

    Lt Dan Choi and Capt Jim Pietrangelo are the kind of person I want in our armed forces. Brave, loyal, strong.

    And to Ace, comment above, don’t be so stupid. This is a serious issue; leave the juvenile stuff out of it, OK?

  7. beegee says

    It’s about time we fight back! If we all did what @brian likes (sitting back and complaining) then nothing would get done! Most people appear to have been there on their lunch breaks – too bad this didn’t take place on the weekend or else the crowd would have been larger!

  8. chris says

    Go Dan Go. IT is time to ACT UP GLBT Americans. Our do nothing President and Do Nothing Democrats are in partnership with our fledgling voice in Washington – HRC.

    Why is Joe S at HRC not also chained to that fence.

  9. DR says

    Gee, JTRamon and Bryan, I know chaining yourself to the fence of the White House is nowhere near as fashionable as paying $300 to make googly-eyes at Kathy Griffin and the HRC, but it’s sure as hell what more people are gonna remember tomorrow!

    HOORAH!

  10. Holden says

    I’m sorry, and I might be alone here, but what is going to give this cause more positive attention? Kathy Griffin and an Emmy award winning show that everyone loves or an extremist protest filled with stunts that lumps us in with 9/11 conspiracy theorists. You want to change the ignorant minds? this is exactly the wrong way to do it. I know this is a serious matter, but with stunts like this, you will not be taken seriously by anyone.

  11. Mike says

    Yeah, nothing got done sitting at the front of a bus or sitting at a Woolworth’s counter either. How dare anyone demand their rights rather than fall in line like good little sheep.

  12. Holden says

    Mike – they didn’t have to deal with cable news that makes the gay community look fringe at best. I’m not saying that civil disobedience doesn’t have it’s place, but if the goal is change the hearts and minds to the american people, it won’t work. We need straight allies. There will be a blip on the blogs, “Two gays chain themselves to the White House” In other news…

  13. John says

    Holden – you’re wrong. Institutions of power overlook the complacent. It takes someone to get in their way and slow down capitalist operations to get noticed.

    I commend those willing to act for what they want. Talking didn’t free slaves and it didn’t liberate women. History says we must rise up and demand our liberties (not that I think we should be partying with the military anyhow… Fight for Peace!)

  14. DR says

    @Holden:

    The only way this won’t be effective is if we continue to trivialize this. I don’t give a rat’s behind that the HRC charged some ridiculous amount to sit and listen to a D-List “celebrity” spew off about how she thinks it’s unfair for gays to serve their country.

    If we as a community continue to minimize the actions of our own members in favor of showing off our straight allies, we’re gonna get NOWHERE fast.

    That’s the problem. Everyone knows who Dan Choi is, and everyone ought to know who Captain Jim Pietrangelo is since he took his dismissal to the USSCT. But instead we follow the straight lady around.

    Maybe we’re making heroes of all the wrong people? I think so.

  15. Sharon says

    How disgusting that HRC had to get their filthy hands in the mix. HRC is one of the biggest frauds in the gay community. Grass roots glbt can do a far better job about this issue that HRC and loud mouth Griffin. Any credibility that was present at this demonstration was invalidated when Griffin open her mouth.

  16. Human Rights Champagne Fund says

    HRC has some committed folks, but for years went into states, held black-tie fundraisers and carted off buckets of cash with little to no local impact. HRC censored Margert Cho, putting tape over the mouth of one of our most rigorous allies and community members when she had the opportunity to speak in front of powerful decisionmakers at the DNC. They’ve fought for a non-inclusive ENDA and are spending more than a quarter million a year on their Director, who as far as I can tell, does not lead any sort of ground game that has created wins for the community. I’m tiring of the sticker shock.

    I also decided to stop donating or engaging them after being told for the upteenth time that I should contact my senators (via their callers and direct mail) I lived in DC. How hard is it to do a zip sort to take into account that DC residents have no vote?

    They can do better and when someone who has been thrown out of the military for serving their country wants to speak, you say, how fast can we get you on the podium and you take your Kathy Griffin moment later in the day.

    I LOVE that she ws there and hope she builds relationships with organizations beyond HRC.

  17. Mike says

    Holden, I think we’re way beyond worrying what everyone thinks of us. I doubt sitting pretty and waiting for our turn will make news, and news is what we need. Constant exposure and constant, unrelenting pressure.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks the HRC, in light of recent advancements in gay rights, are doubling down on their efforts to stay relevant. If we are equal, their job is done – and how will they keep getting invited to cocktail parties on The Hill?

  18. Holden says

    @DR:

    The reason I can trivialize this is because 30 people showed up to watch this? That’s not trivial? The only people that are even going to know about this the people that read gay blogs and the 3 million people that watch Fox News where they will portray our community as dangerous pedophiles. THAT is what I’m saying. HOW does that help?

  19. Julien says

    @Holden: Historically speaking, I think you’re wrong. Civil disobedience plays a central role, and “wining the hearts and minds of the people” is precisely why HRC is a waste of time and money. Those kinds of campaigns have NEVER achieved civil rights wins.

    It wasn’t until 1997 until the percentage of Americans who thought inter-racial relationships were immoral dropped below 50%. Civil rights isn’t about how people *feel*, it’s about legal rights and protections.

  20. Rann says

    You know what, Kathy is trying to help so no need to attack her. But, what Lt. Choi and Captain Jim Pietrangelo did was herioc and very important and I wish she had joined them along with HRC and Joe. For those of you down-playing the action at the Whiote House or making it seem trivial, I find that appalling to say the least. Would you have said that about Rosa Parks or other such civil disobediance? This is the same type of thing and it is doing something besides sitting at your computer.

  21. Human Rights Champagne Fund says

    We are a long way from being equal.

    Renting a tux, paying to hear celebrities talk about the fact that I am not equal, and having spa benefits makes me feel like I have accomplished something for my community. /sarcasm

  22. says

    I think it’s great that Kathy Griffin speaks up for gay rights, but I in no way look to her to be willing to chain herself to the White House fence. Also, if she had, that would have made the entire action (which had nothing to do with her) seem like a stunt.

    That said, while I’ve admired Lt. Choi, I really think this was a mistake. It won’t move the ball forward and will get him expelled from the military. (Wouldn’t you want anyone in the military expelled for chaining themselves to the White House gate?)

    I understand that DADT is taking forever to be repealed and I understand the complaints that HRC isn’t being pro-active. But chaining yourself to the White House is something you do when your cause is almost anonymous and you have nothing to lose, not when your cause is a daily topic of conversation on Capitol Hill.

    Sorry, I think this will wind up being a mistake. I hope I’m wrong and I will be glad to admit so if I am.

  23. Holden says

    @Rann – This is not Rosa Parks. This was a staged event. He was going to the White House to get arrested. It’s a stunt. I don’t know what’s so Ballzy about planning to get arrested and getting arrested?

    @Julien – Very good point. My fear is that the gay community gets lumped into the countless groups on the left fringe that protest for protests sake.

  24. Champagne Fund says

    @Holden. Please tell me you didn’t make it this far without knowing that Rosa Parks arrest was part of an event as well. A planned, strategic, act of civil disobedience?

  25. Zlick says

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the Rosa Park’s bus-sitting episode actually planned, and only looked to be spontaneous?

    As for today’s event, we can argue about it all day long – but the two soldiers did something ballsy. Sometimes that stuff is wise, sometimes not. It’s almost always courageous. And is more than I’m willing to do (especially for DADT repeal, but that’s another story) … so my hat’s off to them.

  26. says

    The important issue is neither HRC nor Kathy Griffin but the President…and that was Dan’s entire purpose today in not just getting arrested by civilian police, but risking an indictment under the UCMJ for wearing his uniform at a political protest.

    It’s not D-list starettes or A-lister gay orgs but that the President who repeatedly promised to ACTIVELY FIGHT to end DADT has ….out of the irrational fear that ACTUALLY fighting for repeal will cost Dems votes….simply blown air kisses at it, refused to use his legal powers to freeze discharges, and sent his SECDEF et al. to Congress to insist that DADT must NOT be repealed until after they’ve done their “study.”

    And, OOOOOPS, we’re so sorry but that study will not be done until after Nov. 2nd when the buzzer will sound, ending this game they’re playing, and the chances of repealing the ban for YEARS!

    Yesterday, ABC evening news wasted five minutes showing basketball-obsessed Obama making his picks for the NCAA tourney, reinforcing the obviousness of his applying bball strategy to avoiding DADT repeal.

    It’s called: “running out the clock.”

  27. DR says

    @Holden:

    It would help if the gay community backed our own instead of allowing a celebrity to turn a civil rights weekend into reality tv fodder. That’s why she showed up, with cameras in tow. For her TV SHOW.

  28. TANK says

    Rosa Parks staged her civil disobedience, too. She was a civil rights activist. Texas board of education got their hooks into you, huh… It was intentional and planned. Holden, you don’t know history…go away.

  29. says

    Hey Holden, tell us exactly what size protest gets your seal of approval.

    I note that on 1 February 1960, FOUR African-American men sat at a lunch counter at a Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, NC and wouldn’t leave because the store wouldn’t serve them. So based upon your logic, this was a complete waste of time because of the small number of participants and the fact that it was a planned protest.

    Good lord.

  30. says

    Kathy Griffin was placed in an impossible situation… hang back and look like she’s more into the HRC than civil disobedience, or follow Choi and look like she’s using his protest as a publicity stunt. She couldn’t win.

    Unless she knew all along that Choi was going to do this, in which case… game, set, match, Miss Griffin.

    Either way, Choi and Griffin want the same exact thing… more publicity and visibility for DADT hearings and the push for prompt repeal.

    Bravo, Kathy and Dan. I’m behind ya.

  31. TANK says

    I hope kathy griffin told a lot of “funny” jokes to keep the crowd “entertained”…about her gays…you know, those gays that are hers…ha ha ha ha…that’s me simulating laughter.

  32. Jersey says

    Love Kathy, love Dan and also love that little girl in MS who wants to take her girlfriend to the prom. It’s all good. Whatever works to bring attention to our plight.

  33. Robert says

    I hate to say it, but being gay and in the military, Lt Choi has just given the military a perfect reason to discharge him and the Capt. Military regulations state you never, ever politically protest in uniform. Further, getting arrested will allow the military to release him under conduct unbecoming. I admired him and the military for allowing him to serve openly these past months–DADT seem to not have been applied to him. But I think he may have made a serious mistake now. Not sure what he was thinking. You can push change so far.

  34. MarkBoston says

    I have been a supporter of the HRC for some years now .. I am DONE with it . It reminds me of the 50’s “polite negro” not to rile the Mr Man too much . Yet it took a black lady, Rosa Parks to stand up and show she had had enough !!! and that she had some backbone…

  35. Perry says

    Kathy Griffin was way out of her league in D. C. today. Joe Solmonese showed himself to be a tired old auntie, a washed-up joke. Someone should have bitch-slapped his tired ass for Robin McGehee. How does that clown merit leadership of the HRC? Hats off to Lt. Dan Choi and Capt. Jim Pietrangelo. I hope they are released soon. I hope that Rachel Maddow interviews both tonight!

  36. ruby says

    where do i send $$ to help in choi’s legal fees that’ll come from this?
    i, perhaps naively, have faith that kathy will turn this into a whole episode that will show us in a positive light. she’s smart enough to know not to piss off her audience, right?

  37. John says

    @Ruby

    I doubt the White House will prosecute. President Obama wants DADT off the front pages of the NYT and having a trial for a trivial “offense” will keep it in the headlines.

  38. niles says

    As dramatic as Choi’s Kanye moment was, it’s really not going to be viewed as constructive at this point. He is still I believe an officer in the Army and needs to conduct himself in a law abiding manner. I have been concerned for some time with his self-agrandizement and growing ego concerning this matter, and we have seen the culmination of this today.

  39. Rann says

    I like the example about the four black men at a lunch counter in this discussion where people feel the need to mock and belittle what happened which took courage. And I agree that neither Holden nor anyone needs to approve of Dan or Kathy’s actions for either to be a valid act of protest. Holden no one is forcing you to like it but stop attacking those who are trying. It is not helpful. Also, I repeat this is not about Kathy vs. Dan Choi. They are fighting for the same thing in different ways. There is no need to denigrate either one and I find it ironic that we have people doing it to both. I thank them for trying to get a point across. It is the only attention the issue is gettin in DC right now. As for the points about Dan Choi losing his military career for doing this in uniform or at all, I would remind you they are already throwing him out so he is trying to go out with a purpose.

  40. says

    Thank you, Niles, for clocking in with the “Sehr are rules and ve must obey zem…Gut German Circa 1932-1945″ viewpoint [and, please, pseuedo intellectual queens, spare me the ludicrous Godwin’s Law asshattery].

    Please, share with us where you purchased your meter to measure someone else’s “self-aggrandize” and “ego”?

    I’ll tell you what my meter measures: the stink of Obambot bullshit that attacks anyone who dares call out our Coward-in-Chief. BUZZ! You win!

    And, no, Matthew, REPEAL isn’t progressing, only TALK about it. Perhaps if these protests were done in jock straps you’d pay more attention. But there’s a big glass of Kool Aid in the Obama Borg Cafeteria with your name on it.

  41. Alex M. says

    Bravo. This is the way to win rights and embarrass the do-nothing Obama administration. LGBT people are not the property of the Democratic party.

    Those of us who live in free states like Mass, NH, Conn, Vermont and Iowa are now free to vote Republican in local elections, and we do. Maybe that’s why the admin is dragging its feet? Maybe they want LGBT voters trapped with the Democrats wbho treat us like doormat ATMs.

  42. Jane Roe says

    “Those of us who live in free states like Mass, NH, Conn, Vermont and Iowa are now free to vote Republican in local elections, and we do.”

    Are you high? What abject idiocy is this? What prevented you from voting Repub before? Absolutely nothing!

    John McCain received 1/3 of the gay vote, the highest ever for a Republican presidential candidate.

  43. Donald says

    It was nothing but an HRC branding rally, with stickers and signs being passed out for people to hold up for the cameras and sign-up sheets so they could send out requests for money. See, Joe S. and HRC are fighting for you! Now write your address down, clearly, so we can mail you some literature.

  44. says

    Pam, this is excellent reporting! Many kudos to Dan, Jim and Robin for their bravery in taking a firm stand. The day may come when many in our queer community will have to take steps like this if we are to finally receive our equal civil and human rights!

  45. Career says

    Robert, the military member, was right. Choi might have made himself and his friends feel good, but if anything he made things worse for gay people within the military. Remember us, the ones you say you are trying to help?

    Choi is an officer. He says that gay people are qualified to be officers. He’s right, but Choi isn’t one of them. When you’re an officer, you follow the Army’s rules. You have to, because you enforce and administer those rules on the job.

    The rules are that you don’t protest in uniform. You don’t get yourself arrested. Do you realize what can happen to an officer for a minor arrest? Hell, in most commands an officer isn’t even allowed to drink a beer in public while in uniform, much less chain himself to the White House fence and get arrested.

    Choi knows all those rules, but he broke them anyway. He just handed a great weapon to anyone in command who says that homos can’t follow orders because all they think about is their own selves.

    Thanks, Dan. I don’t know who the fuck’s side you think you’re on, but it’s not mine.

  46. At the Rally says

    It confuses me when I see people’s comments about what went down today at the rally. I was personally there and not 20 or 10 feet away from Choi and Kathy, but 3 inches behind them at the rope line. Lt. Choi arrived at the rally and personally handed out anti HRC fliers and yet they allowed him to have a voice on stage. A voice that asked people to call on the President and not Congress (who will over turn DADT) He then ran back into the crowd and did his own interviews (the same interviews that Kathy and Joe are being yelled at for.) People should not comment on something they did not take part in or stand next to their peers with. Choi did make a statement.. but did that statement effect the change we are seeking?

  47. Josh says

    Holden,

    I think it’s going to take both forms of advocacy to really bring the issue to the forefront — allies supporting us and blatant, visible civil disobedience. A look back in history shows us that it was the response to the horror of Bloody Sunday (03/07/1965) at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma that finally brought to the forefront the need for civil rights legislation in the 1960s. Dr. King’s immediate response was to organize another march two days later, thereby keeping the issue in the media and the minds of Americans.

    As for the HRC, the point has been made above that they care only about gay marriage and their own relevance as an organization. Any other issues in the LGBT community are secondary at best.

  48. TANK says

    But for all of the complaining about HRC (and the lies that they tell about certainty with regard to legislation to keep up their donations), it doesn’t seem like it’s having much an impact on them. HRC is long past the point of constructive criticism making a dent in how they operate…and criticism just seems to embolden them. So ignore them…ignore them and contribute to more effective advocacy orgs. Don’t you ever get tired of watching your fist wringing?

  49. Sportin' Life says

    Solmonese has got to go. Andy, please consider using your platform to call for his resignation. Serving us up as an episode of reality teevee is just too much.

    This kind of failed do-nothing ridiculousness has gone on long enough.

  50. says

    Career Troll:

    You acknowledge Dan knows such regulations he was violating but don’t get that it was his right TO choose do that. That’s why it’s called civil DISOBEDIENCE, imbecile. Legal consequences are beside the point.

    And, permit me to remind you that the military reports to civilians NOT the other way around so what THEY think about Dan’s actions are IRRELEVANT. That OBAMA has forgotten that, too, and has been ennabling them to play there two-faced game saying they suddenly support repeal BUT, ooooops, you NOT REPEAL until after “The Study” [which only certifiable cretins and invincible homohaters genuinely BELIEVE in] but, oooops, surprise, surprise, it won’t be done until after midterms when repeal will be IMPOSSIBLE.

    Despite the Obamabots predictable drooling, there is NO credible argument that Dan has negatively impacted chances for repeal.

    Go back to playing with your GI Joe dolls and getting ready for uniform night at your local watering hole and stop pretending you give a flying fuck about repealing DADT.

  51. Bryant says

    I think this is proof that HRC has outlived its usefulness. (Actually I have been saying this for two years now.) I think it is time for some grass roots organizations to come up and take the place of these bloated organizations who are doing more harm than good. It is time that we, the average Joe, to start fighting for our future.

    Every day we are all given the opportunity to change one mind, which opens the possibility of that mind changing others. We need to stand tall and relish in who and what we are. You will be surprised at what a difference it can make, not only for yourself, but for others. Clear a path, blaze a trail, rock the establishment or sew a seed. Every bit helps. But it is up to YOU to make the effort.

  52. Bob says

    HRC’s biggest problem is it doesn’t do a good job of letting people know what it does and how effectively it’s work is.

    While Dan is boldly putting himself in the line of fire for the national media, HRC is working 24/7 in six states to get their senators to vote for repeal in the Senate Armed Services Committee. We need 3 of those votes to get the bill out of committee and onto the floor, where it can be added to the defense authorization bill and passed in August.

    While Dan’s actions are commendable, it won’t have any impact on getting the 3 votes we need in the Armed Services Committee. And the “buckets of cash” that HRC raises goes to pay staff in these 6 states, mobilize volunteers in these states, and get local media attention directed towards these 6 Senators. It’s this kind of targeted, strategic action that gets bills passed in the House and Senate.

    Finally, this was Kathy Griffin’s event. HRC was asked to support it and be a part of it, but Kathy was calling the shots. It wasn’t Joe’s place to change the lineup of speakers on the spot.

    People who spend time criticizing HRC should spend a couple of days at headquarters finding out what the organization actually does. The work they do isn’t glamorous and doesn’t get media attention, but it’s the in the trenches, day-to-day work that makes things happen in DC.

    btw: I’m a volunteer with HRC, not a paid staff member.

  53. TANK says

    “HRC’s biggest problem is it doesn’t do a good job of letting people know what it does and how effectively it’s work is.”

    Exactly, bob…and we can tell because our fight for equality is over…we’ve achieved everything…and how long has the hrc had to work on these issues? When was dadt passed?

  54. Chris says

    UMMMMMM Understand something Rosa Parks was NOT a staged event. The woman has said time and time again she was tired froma hard days work and REFUSED to move.

    That’s not staged!

  55. TANK says

    Chris, you need to learn your american history. It’s embarrassing… Rosa Parks was a civil rights activist long before she ever refused to give up her seat. She planned what she did down to the last detail explicitly as an act of civil disobedience. In fact, there were many rosa parks’s prior to her who did exactly what she did as an act of protest. They didn’t get the same notoriety because of wrong place, wrong time. It was intentional on their part, and on hers. Your ignorance is…hopefully tractable.

  56. Tina Drew says

    Rob from above . . .I hope the problem is clear to volunteers and those on the inside who think HRC or know HRC is doing the work. Having worked for national progressive political organizations, I know a few things:

    1. If you aren’t making a difference in the states and communicating those successes, you could be doing better.

    2. What they did to Margaret Cho at the DNC was as inexcusable as endorsing Al D’Amato. To me it wasn’t just that they took these actions, but that these actions revealed a ridiculous lack of understanding of the issues, and the value of having an out woman of color speaking for an organization that had been white white white.

    3. HRC fought for a non-inclusive ENDA choosing to leave folks behind that didn’t have enough of a voice in the board room. This alone was enough for many to leave over.

    4. For many years, HRC’s black tie dinners were a place for gay men to dress up, pay a good price and rest assured that a 90% white board of directors was taking care of that pesky advocacy work.

    5. The Millenium March was the height of HRC’s rejection of “the people” with a platform that called for less protection, less equality, and less coalition building than the previous marches on Washington.

    6. After the massive prop 8 loss, HRC should have been in action, making protests happen or promoting those that did. Nada. For days and days. What?

    The thing is, HRC is great at black tie dinners, stickers, and raising money for Democrats, many of whom do not support our equality. IF they are having major legislative successes, it is not clear. If they are working with people on the ground and having those folks guide their action agenda, it is not clear.

  57. Bryant says

    @ Bob: Actions speak louder than words. So far HRC has been all talk and little else. Until I actually see the organization making some effort to further our cause, rather than throwing some pretty publicity “party”, I might be more inclined to lend my support, and my money. Until then, you are just dead weight, like the rest of the fat cats on Capital Hill.

    We need change, not pretty words. That goes for all those so-called gay organizations and the politicians. As an American, I am pissed. As a gay man, I am livid. As a group, we have been waiting since the 70’s on empty promises. How much longer do we have to wait?

  58. Career says

    Michael @ Matlovich, like most of the people who say they want to get rid of DADT, you really don’t understand or care about the military, or the gay people who are serving there. I’m not real sure that Choi does anymore, either.

  59. SISTER MARIA EVANGELICA MAMMACULOS says

    BUT WHY OH WHY DO GAYS WANT TO BE IN THE MILITARY, OBVIOUSLY TO BE WITH OTHER MEN AND PERHAPS HAVE THE CHANCE TO SEDUCE THEM DEAR LORD WHY BE PART OF THE DEATH MACHINE, THE OPPRESSION OF DESTRUCTION OF 3RD WORLD PEOPLES AND THEY CULTURE, THE PERPETRUATION OF AMERICAN EMPIRE, THE MASSACRE OF INNOCENT CIVILIANS IN AN UNJUST WAR WHICH WE ALL KNOW TO BE TRUE, DEAR LORD DEAR LORD, THEY MUST BE OUT OF THEIR MINDS BETTER TO BE HAIRDRESSERS AND INTERIOR DECORATORS IN THE ARTS IS WHERE THE GAYS BELONG TO BEAUTIFY THE WORLD NOT DESTROY IT GOD BLESS YOU.

  60. Rinnie says

    Some interesting facts and figures about support for gays in the military: officers were more likely to support it than enlisted and WOMEN were the large supporters. 55% of all women polled by the military said that gays should serve openly whereas only 27% of the men. Of those numbers in support, of the men who agreed 80% of them were officers, whereas the women were across the board.

  61. DR says

    @Career, you don’t get it.

    What would you rather do, stay in the closet? For every Dan Choi, there are hundreds of men and women discharged who either quietly fight it (meaning not in the news) or don’t fight it at all.

    Maybe you’re happy staying in your little closet, but I wonder if all 14000 men and women discharged would agreed.

  62. Career says

    @DR, no, I don’t want to stay in the closet. I don’t think a prime spokesman for ending DADT should be an officer who thinks he can pick and choose which military regulations and customs, and which civilian laws, he can obey.

    Choi is unfit to be a military officer. We need a different spokesman.

  63. clare says

    This was a protest conceived by Kathy Griffin in concert with HRC. I strongly support DADT, but if Dan Choi wanted to protest, he’s free any time to organize a protest, not take over one that was already in place. I have been a member of HRC for many years and anyone out there who doesn’t think HRC has done great things for the LGBT community, I’m sorry, but you haven’t been following the progress. Have we seen you at Lobby Day where we come twice a year (as volunteers) to speak personally with our elected representatives? Have you been part of the local lobbying? HRC is at the table where change is being discussed. We are not just fundraising cocktail parties and celebrities. Come see what we do and be a part of it before you complain. I for one am proud of the work HRC does. BTW, it was Mr Franks who capitulated on the non-transgender inclusive ENDA bill a few years ago, not HRC. We are part of the group fighting for the trans-inclusive ENDA before Congress now.

  64. MarkDC says

    …and Bravo gets a ratings wet dream. No need to actually DO anything. No need to rub shoulders with the “activist” riff-raff. No need for civil disobedience at all.

    Let’s all just watch TV and change the world instead! Go ahead. Sit your dumb faggot asses down in front of the TV and watch D List! Bravo is lining up advertisers right now.

    Think about all the free publicity Griffin and Bravo have gotten.

    Griffingate.

  65. MarkDC says

    Obama should invite him to The White House for lunch.

    NO Griffin.

    NO producers.

    NO Bravo film crew.

    NO Solomonese.

    Just the first Black President meeting with a Gay civil rights hero.

  66. MikeyMcMuffin says

    I support Lt. Choi and Captain Pietrangelo, and would have chained myself beside them. We need more heroes like these men and heroines like Ms. McGeehee as role-models for our community. I’m afraid that HRC has lost its soul.

    Sign me up for the next real rally. I’ll bring a truckload of queers from CT to DC to have our voices heard.

  67. Career says

    @CLARE, I share your frustration with the attacks on Human Rights Campaign. Even if that group isn’t someone’s cup of tea because of their style, anyone who looks at civil rights history ought to know that you need an inside/outside strategy. Shitting all over the insiders is counterproductive.

    In the DADT battle, I am optimistic. The reason I am optimistic is the process. As you know, DADT is federal law, and can only be repealed with an act of Congress. The politics are that Congress listens closely to the military brass, which in turn listens to the troops.

    All of these wheels have been turning, and a lot of that has been happening because of the boring shit that happens when no one is watching. So, recently you’ve had the JCS chairman and the theater commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Petraeus, testify in favor of repeal.

    It’s pretty hard to overemphasize how important that testimony is. It has really cut the legs out from under the opponents, who always justified their opposition to change on the basis that the military itself was hostile to change.

    Credit here goes to the people who spent all that time, inch by inch, getting to those people. I think HRC is pretty damned important, and I for one am impressed. So, I thank YOU for your service. Seriously.

  68. kelly ann heyel says

    hi apparently we can not find a way to communicate face to face sure you can investigate interview debate w youself and others but what it comes down to The Rock is do you have the courage to be our (my ) friend keli

  69. shawnmichele says

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  70. Jerry6 says

    Mr Choi is doing the right wing bigot’s job for them without any of them having to be identified. His actions are doing more harm to us than any other single action. As far as the bigots are concerned, he is convincing evidence that Gays are irresponsible, destructive mental cases.

  71. jp twigg says

    Trying to get the GLBT community (or progressives, for that matter) to agree on ANYTHING is like herding f***ing cats. This is just what the Right wants, infighting. We need the Kathy Griffins, the HRC and the Dan Choi/ Jim Pietrangelos. All of them working toward the same things. And we wonder why the TEA PARTY gets attention?

  72. says

    HRC has some committed folks, but for years went into states, held black-tie fundraisers and carted off buckets of cash with little to no local impact. HRC censored Margert Cho, putting tape over the mouth of one of our most rigorous allies and community members when she had the opportunity to speak in front of powerful decisionmakers at the DNC. They’ve fought for a non-inclusive ENDA and are spending more than a quarter million a year on their Director, who as far as I can tell, does not lead any sort of ground game that has created wins for the community. I’m tiring of the sticker shock.

    I also decided to stop donating or engaging them after being told for the upteenth time that I should contact my senators (via their callers and direct mail) I lived in DC. How hard is it to do a zip sort to take into account that DC residents have no vote?

    They can do better and when someone who has been thrown out of the military for serving their country wants to speak, you say, how fast can we get you on the podium and you take your Kathy Griffin moment later in the day.

    I LOVE that she ws there and hope she builds relationships with organizations beyond HRC.

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