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GetEQUAL Co-founder Kip Williams Arrested at Obama Event:


Guestblogger  by REX WOCKNER

GetEQUAL co-founder Kip Williams was arrested for shouting at President Barack Obama in San Francisco last night.

Obama was speaking at a fundraiser for U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer at the Fairmont Hotel.

(Video, AFTER THE JUMP...)

Kip-Williams-by-Rex-Wockner-2 Williams said he yelled at Obama because the latest plans for Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal are inadequate.

"The solution now being discussed to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell is an empty half measure and, even if passed, it will allow discharges of lesbian and gay service members to continue indefinitely," Williams said in an interview.

"(The current plan) has shifted responsibility off of Congress' back and onto the president, the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff," he said. "This bill is Congress saying: 'Whenever you all decide you're ready to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell, we're cool with it. You don't have to check in with us again.'"

"It is a repeal of the law," Williams said, "but the policy and practice (of DADT) doesn't have to be phased out until (Defense Secretary) Robert Gates decides he's ready to do it. There's nothing binding, there's no timeline, and it will not end the discharge of lesbian and gay service members now."

Williams said he believes the plan unfolded the way it has because Gates is "the real holdup ... the only real opposition."

Williams was cited for disturbing the peace and then released.

"It was the first time I've done something like that by myself," he said. "I was close enough to see Obama's face. I worked so hard on his campaign and I still believe in him and I support him and I wish I didn't have to have that exchange with him and I saw the anger on his face when I started speaking, but I'm angry too, and I can't be silent."

Obama responded to the disruption.

"It's good to see you again," the president said to Williams. "I have to say, you know, I saw this guy down in L.A. at a Barbara Boxer event about a month and a half ago and I would -- two points I want to make: Number one, he should -- I hate to say this -- but he really should, like, buy a ticket to -- if he wants to demonstrate -- buy a ticket to a guy who doesn't support his point of view, and then you can yell as much as you want there. The other point is, maybe he didn't read the newspapers because we are working with Congress as we speak to roll back Don't Ask, Don't Tell. I actually think he does read the newspapers because he wasn't as -- his heart didn't seem in it. He said, 'Do it (repeal DADT) faster.' It's like, c'mon, man, I'm dealing, I'm dealing with Congress here. It takes a little bit of time."

Kip-Williams-Robin-McGehee-by-Rex-Wockner In a press statement earlier in the day, GetEQUAL co-founder Robin McGehee set the stage for Williams' heckling.

"After a year and a half of mostly inaction, the White House has offered our community a compromise that is movement forward on repeal, but unfortunately not nearly enough for those service members -- some who stood handcuffed with us and faced arrest beside us at the White House -- living under the shadow of this outdated, immoral law," she said. "Together, our collective voice has moved the White House from a place of absence to involvement. However, we didn't invest ourselves to this cause, nor spend nights under arrest in a jail cell for a compromise. President Obama, we won't stop until you stop the immoral firing of our brothers and sisters in the military so that their integrity is restored, their jobs are secured and their families are recognized."

Leading Don't Ask, Don't Tell activist Lt. Dan Choi, who has been arrested twice recently for handcuffing himself to the White House fence, also is dissatisfied with the latest plans.

"My question still remains, and I've yet to find anyone who signed off on yesterday's compromise able to give me a direct answer to, 'When exactly will the discharges stop?'" Choi said May 25. "Until the President signs the papers that fully and immediately end the firing of patriotic, gay and lesbian service members, then there is no cause for celebration and no reason to trumpet mission accomplished for a job not yet done."

"We've heard a lot of talk about how this compromise can work politically, but on the day this passes Congress, no one has been able to explain how this will have any impact at all on those of us serving in uniform," Choi said. "Unfortunately, we have been handed an imperfect, 11th hour compromise."

In a May 25 analysis piece, Advocate reporter Kerry Eleveld, who is covering the developments closely, seemed to affirm the activists' concerns. She said the "compromise" plan facing congressional votes this week would not end DADT until "some indefinite point in the future."

DADT would continue until a Department of Defense study is completed in December and until Gates, Obama and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Michael Mullen "certify that repeal can proceed," Eleveld said.

Watch Obama get heckled, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. I have to agree with President Omama here. Kip, go yell at the other guys. Stop yelling at our allies. You're making us all look like dummies.

    Posted by: Dan | May 26, 2010 7:30:58 AM

  2. I really didn't like Obama's condescending tone here.

    Posted by: Anonymous | May 26, 2010 7:51:59 AM

  3. Activism is hot, and so is Kip. I'd agree that I want them out there yelling at the GOP more often - they're the ones that may cause this moderately-effective bill to not even pass to begin with. Scott Brown is due for a good interruption, seriously.

    Posted by: KFLO | May 26, 2010 7:56:32 AM

  4. It looks like Obama did most the heckling, LOL. I love when one activist can make the entire community look like disorganized and uninformed babies.

    "Move faster" LOL Move faster? "Mr. President. I'm going to acknowledge that you are actually doing something, you're just not doing it as fast as I expect you to."

    Posted by: Rick | May 26, 2010 8:11:03 AM

  5. The President lost any remaining respect I had for him by his condescending reply. We worked hard to get you where you are, Mr. President. If you are not going to fulfill your promises to us, at least don't ridicule us for a laugh.

    Posted by: Scott | May 26, 2010 8:26:01 AM

  6. We need to be looking at the results of gay rights activism and behavior. Who cares whether it is 'hot' or not? It could be the the recent dramatic, interruptive actions by those opposed to DADT may have effected the current push to get 'something' done, but in fact it might actually slow the true implementation of new law and policies - that was already on track and proceeding.
    Hurrah or something for blasting out one's right to speak - but is any of this behavior helping?

    Posted by: JH | May 26, 2010 8:39:33 AM

  7. Jon Stewart said it best, "Mr Obama, I know you have a lot on your plate, but you are the PRESIDENT. Get a bigger plate".

    Posted by: patrick nyc | May 26, 2010 8:40:33 AM

  8. The petulant, whiny baby is Obama. He needs to save his condescending trash talking for the basketball court and show the well deserved respect to his constituents that they are entitled to. They campaigned and elected him, so he better fucking shut up and listen to what they have to say. But then Obama has always blamed the voters when they don't agree with him, and mostly shown them nothing but contempt. He is a petty, arrogant man who disgraces the office he holds. Bush set that bar very low, and Obama is doing his best to keep it at that level.

    Posted by: gaylib | May 26, 2010 8:54:06 AM

  9. Go away, Kip Williams.

    Posted by: J.D. | May 26, 2010 8:54:25 AM

  10. There's no timeline or guarantee of repeal, and continued discharges. What's not to love?

    Posted by: David in Houston | May 26, 2010 8:55:39 AM

  11. Oh and Barbara Boxer can go fuck herself too for laughing along. And for all those trolls out there comparing these activists to "teabaggers", did you get a look at that audience? It looked pretty damn white, affluent, and old. Did I mention they were almost all white? Looked just like a tea party rally to me.

    Posted by: gaylib | May 26, 2010 8:57:30 AM

  12. @KFLO Scott Brown is due for a good interruption, seriously...

    Absolutely right! This guy voted for health care reform and marriage equality in MA. If there is someone you should be able to get to, it's him. He's be most likely to buck the party, because of his own interest back home.

    Posted by: Keith | May 26, 2010 8:59:11 AM

  13. Every gay news blog I visit today has this story and most of them have this video. Anyone who wants to be rude enough to yell at the president can make himself a mini internet celeb in this day of YouTube. YUCK.

    Posted by: J.D. | May 26, 2010 9:11:09 AM

  14. I actually don't mind the whole heckling (sometimes). These are elected officials and should answer to those who help get them elected. How often to "common Americans" get access to ask questions?

    And I like Obama -- but the way he handled this was inappropriate. How many service men and women who were dischagred, losing all their benenfits after serving this country, are laughing? I hardly think those who are currently in fear of being discharged care that working with Congress "takes time".

    Posted by: Dan | May 26, 2010 9:11:16 AM

  15. in my view the Civil Rights leaders of the 60's amd 70's would have said exactly the same;"move faster".
    Are we supposed to be grateful for crumbs ?
    We are talking about discrimination based on sexual orientation. It is a crime !

    Now let's move on to lawsuits; as discrimination based on sexual orientation is unconstitutional let's get going on seeking proper damages for loss of earnings and loss of career for those who have been discharged.
    Even that oaf, Scalia, must rule that discrimination is unconstitutional......Jefferson said so.

    I agree with the posters above, patronizing, condescending, self congratulory remarks by Obama are out of line; he's not shown much activity on an issue of discrimination which should be near to his heart. Now, unlike Truman, he's passed the buck.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | May 26, 2010 9:13:40 AM

  16. And some of you still wonder why we're not taken seriously.

    Posted by: John | May 26, 2010 9:13:50 AM

  17. DADT will be repealed despite actions like this, not because of them.

    Posted by: JeffRob | May 26, 2010 9:24:30 AM

  18. Obama had better get used to being yelled at, picketed and heckled.

    Obama's entire presidency is deep in a failure mode.

    It's SNAFU! … over and over again.

    It's obvious by now that Obama is in way over his head. He and his team pretty much failed on every major question they attempted to solve.

    They gave trillions to the looter rich who continue to operate as if the economy isn't collapsing. The financial reform bill is a sham. Obama is a tool of Goldman Sachs, who 'donated' $994,795.00 to his campaign. The Democrats health 'reform' was a giveaway to insurance companies and Big Pharma. People are going to continue to die needlessly. They absolutely reject single-payer or socialized medicine.

    He promised to escalate in Pakistan and adopted the same policy of 'defended hamlets' and winning the 'hearts and minds' that failed in Iraq, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Not only is Obama a military and diplomatic idiot but lots of GIs are going to be killed and maimed because of it. "The US and Nato commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, who was boasting of military progress only three months ago, confessed last week that "nobody is winning". FUBAR!

    He ran as a 'friend of labor' and busted the UAW.

    He ran as our GLBT 'fierce defender' and so far all he's defended are Bill Clintons ugly bigoted DADT and DOMA using language that southern baptists like Rick Warren, Der Papenfuehrer and the LDS Quorum of the Twelve Apostles would be proud of. DADT is not repealed and military discrimination and violence against women and GLBT folks won't end. It just won't be codified in law.

    He ran as an environmentalist whose administration called for more, not less, offshore drilling. His administration violated federal law and allowed unchecked expansion of drilling in the Gulf which caused the BP disaster. The northern reaches of the Gulf are a sewer and the graveyard of entire species because of Obama's ineptitude and lax regulatory efforts. TARFU!

    He ran as a friend of immigrant and imported workers and then made the racist proposal to deny them medical care and now, because the Republicans want him to, he's sending 1200 troops to the border.

    If elections weren't rigged, if this wasn't the biggest Banana Republic of them all, he'd be impeached. But ten to one he'll be reelected while Obots and Democrats applaud thinking they've been saved from rightwingers like Palin, Romney, Jindal, or Huckabee.

    The only thing wrong with that kind of thinking is that Obama is exactly that kind of rightwinger. And not very bright in the bargain. BOHICA! (And not in the good way.)

    The looter rich much prefer working with Democrats like Obama and the Clintons – they're greedier, they fool more people and they're able to get away with a lot more than Republicans.

    Don't enlist. Don't fight. Don't translate.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | May 26, 2010 9:28:17 AM

  19. If DADT is repealed, is Kip Williams planning to enlist?

    Posted by: JONNY NYNY2FLFL | May 26, 2010 9:33:38 AM

  20. Can we please try to elect an non-Ivy League elitist sometime soon ?

    Left or Right these guys DO believe they are superior to the rest of us --- listen to how Obama condescends and makes like of the citizen who helped elect him.

    Posted by: tony | May 26, 2010 9:38:15 AM

  21. The President talks down to this man who is asking for faster action on equality... DADT has been a discriminatory law for 17 YEARS!

    This Kip guy may make people uncomfortable, but the people with the power are the ones that need to change here.

    The compromise still has no teeth; it's a pacifier for Gates & the gays so they don't walk-out at election time or create a greater momentum of discontent for same'ol Dems.

    I've lost my sense of humor about my inequality in a nation with such high-regard for itself.

    Posted by: stephen | May 26, 2010 9:39:12 AM

  22. what has changed with this compromise?nothing. nobody has said discharges will stop during this period.there is no cut off for the length of the review and implementation.the dod and gates are running the show. what happens if in 5 months congress is run by repuks this can be stalled forever.when obama gets challenged he reacts like a spoiled child.he has shown that over and over.

    Posted by: walter | May 26, 2010 9:39:47 AM

  23. So now we're not supposed to heckle a manifestly odious slap-in-the-face bigoted piece of discrimination ?

    @ John: So now we must keep quiet and appear calm to "be taken seriously" ?#

    It's time to wake up and remember one truth : what advance has there been in our civil rights without persistent protest ?
    What funding for AIDS research and treatment was there without ACT UP ?
    Shame on those of you who say shame on the hecklers.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | May 26, 2010 9:47:39 AM

  24. For those of you idiotically asking why we don't turn our protests to the Republicans, listen VERY closely. I'll give you the answer very succinctly.

    1) The REPUBLICANS don't control the House, Senate OR the Presidency. The DEMOCRATS do!

    2) The REPUBLICAN NEVER promised us that they would repeal DADT or pass ENDA or repeal DOMA. The DEMOCRATS did!

    3) The REPUBLICANS don't owe the gay community ANYTHING because we've never been a loyal constituency of theirs. The DEMOCRATS most certainly do!

    4) The REPUBLICANS don't promise us things on the campaign trail and then shit on us once elected. The DEMOCRATS do!

    5) The REPUBLICANS would NEVER listen to us anyway. Why should they, their HUGE anti-gay base is who they listen to when it comes to gay rights. They're not about to piss them off in exchange for a few gay votes. The DEMOCRATS just might listen to us if we speak loud enough, and demand that they fulfill their promises and show them that there will be consequences if they don't.

    I don't know how to make it any more clear than that to explain why we heckle and protest our so called "allies" and not the Republicans.

    It seem that these facts would be easily evident to even the most uniformed idiot. Apparently not.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | May 26, 2010 10:10:19 AM

  25. There are far too many in this so-called community that are satisfied with rhetoric and no action. They aren't very bright, these issues don't impact their lives at all, and thus they don't care about them; or care about them only in terms of the funding that can be generated. Lots of defective, stupid people amongst us. Thankfully, not all of us are like that. Kip Williams is one of the few is this community who found a spine.

    There is no compromise without the passage of repeal. That hasn't happened, so it's WORTHLESS. And the compromise has its own fatal flaws.

    Posted by: TANK | May 26, 2010 10:11:22 AM

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