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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. So, when Joe Wilson shouted "You lie!" at Obama, Obama defended him. But when a gay person does the same thing, he doesn't like it one bit. What does that say about Obama's real loyalties?

    Posted by: jomicur | May 26, 2010 10:16:21 AM

  2. And while I'm pointing out the obvious facts, let me point out one more.

    This was NOT Obama's compromise. He did not initiate it to save the chance for DADT repeal this year. He was clearly sitting on the sidelines and was willing to let it fade into oblivion without lifting a finger or a voice. He was dragged into this compromise KICKING AND SCREAMING by Democrats on the Hill who were DESPERATE to save any chance of getting some kind of DADT repeal passed before the midterms. They realized that Obama wasn't going to help them in any way unless they forced him to. They had to send him a letter BEGGING him to get involved, just to simply state exactly what his position and timeline was for repealing DADT; this year? next year? next term? eventually? next administration?

    Then Gates, who we've been told supports repeal, didn't even want to support this compromise even though it pretty much took the "when" off the table and replaced it with an "if" that GATES HIMSELF had the last say on.

    This was CLEARLY not a compromise that Obama and Gates offered to save repeal from dying. It wasn't even a compromise that EITHER of them wanted or truly supported. Their hands were FORCED because of persistent pressure from the gay community and groups like GETEQUAL in PARTICULAR. HRC sure as hell had NOTHING to do with it since they put their stamp of approval on ANYTHING that the President does, or DOESN'T do, for our community.

    I was the biggest Obama supporter on TOWLEROAD bar NONE. I have every right to take him to task for letting me and my community down. So do the people who didn't support him because they didn't trust him. The ONLY people who don't have a right to bitch and moan are those people who didn't vote at all.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | May 26, 2010 10:25:19 AM

  3. I'm getting tired of the Dems treating us like ATM machines and expecting us to be grateful for any crumbs they let fall off the table.

    Posted by: chasmader | May 26, 2010 10:29:38 AM

  4. Seriously, shut the fuck up Get Equal and Kip Williams. You're doing more harm than good. You yapping is childish, counterproductive, and just plain embarrassing.

    Channel that "energy" to the GOP.

    Posted by: Chuy | May 26, 2010 11:08:06 AM

  5. I like Obama! I just do! DODT and ENDA are being worked on currently and many have promised it by the end of the year. He signed the Hate Crimes act with us in it. Keep in mind it is only the beginning of his second year and he has done way more than Bush did for us in 8 years.

    I respect Kip and understand his purpose and I understand what the president is saying as well. Both of them play a vital role in our ascension to equal rights.

    Posted by: Willie | May 26, 2010 11:10:02 AM

  6. i think kip williams, dan choi, get equal and all the others who really put themselves
    on the front line of this question deserve great respect and apppreciation. nothing would have happened if they hadn't getting in people's faces over this. the administration would have waited for survey after survey. does any one realize how impotent this makes us look around the world we preach human and civil everuywhere but can't deliver them at home. does this make us all hipocrits?

    Posted by: walter | May 26, 2010 11:50:13 AM

  7. Heckling is inappropriate regardless of the reason. Common courtesy is to allow the speaker to finish his speech. I agree that Obama and the democratic leadership has not fulfilled their pledge to GLBT americans and i seriously doubt that we will achieve equality during this administration but i do support a speaker's right to address his audience without interruption. This outburst while bringing the subject matter to the forefront doesn't help in my opinion

    Posted by: william | May 26, 2010 12:14:43 PM

  8. Never kiss an ass that is in the process of shitting on you. I don't see anything wrong with reminding the President we want equal civil rights faster. It's true isn't it?

    Posted by: Timzilla | May 26, 2010 1:44:23 PM

  9. Screw Obama! God dammit repeal DADT today. Quit pussy-footing around. I encourage all who read this to join and support today. Go there. Give 'em a few bucks to keep this kind of pressure on Obama and other lawmakers. The next President, probably a Republican, is going to try and wipe us off the planet and all that we achieve today. I didn't vote for Obama, I didn't believe in him, I thought Hillary would be a far better president especially for the gay community. Obama is a pompous ass. FORCE him to repeal DADT. FORCE him to support same-sex marriage. FORCE and every Congressperson to give us equal status. Why the hell should any gay person be denied the same rights as any heterosexual person?

    Posted by: OS2Guy | May 26, 2010 2:04:06 PM

  10. Spot on, Tampazeke.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | May 26, 2010 2:13:20 PM

  11. Obama is a liar and a fool.

    Aside from our own issues, which he's done nothing for, he's just bad for the country overall. Look at his handling of the BP disaster, and tell me this moron is any better than the Bush moron.

    Posted by: Randy | May 26, 2010 3:23:38 PM

  12. Exxon Mobil annual shareholders Meeting:

    Last year 40% of shareholders voted in favor of "partner benefits."

    This year 22% of shareholders voted in favor of "partner benefits."

    Almost HALF the support we had the previous year.

    For the previous 6 years in a row we made progress. This year, we were all treated to GetEQUAL's childish "Dump the Pump" protest, which sought to inconvenience people AT A CONVENIENCE STORE, another senseless act of demanding.

    People do not respond favorably to complaining and that is GetEQUAL's only strategy. We need to fully understand the dynamics of this over-the-top embarrassing events and pissing on our friends. It is counterproductive.

    Kip Williams claimed in his email to Michael Petrellis that "activists participating in the actions were volunteers" and that "none of them were paid." Then we learn that both Robin McGehee and Kip Williams are PAID and both have been arrested.

    I have asked a dozen times for someone, anyone, to please connect the dots about the logic of these stunts. They are not civil disobedience. They are not rallies of support. They are high-profile complaining stunts purportedly to "apply pressure" on their targets. That is silly.

    We should recognize the potential damage being created by these loose cannons. THEY have a responsibility to make some sense of their strategy. We do not need to run around complaining, embarrassing and insulting. Those "actions" don't change any minds or garner any support.

    Posted by: AndrewW | May 26, 2010 6:48:16 PM

  13. Activists Needed!

    Heckle the President and interrupt meetings in Washington D.C.

    Informal attire. Tie-dyed shirts and sandals are okay.

    Must be able to rhyme and shout (at the same time).

    Salary: $89,999 per year *plus travel expenses

    Apply @

    Posted by: Hacktivist | May 26, 2010 10:21:58 PM

  14. All of this Obama was out of line to us and he's wrong to heckle back...
    I'll repeat something I have said before

    "Obama's relationship with our community has been rocky since his election."

    In fact, it's been rocky since the kids voted overwhelmingly for Clinton in the primaries. 60% of LGBT's voted for Clinton during the primary. Not only did they vote for Clinton, they supported her long after it was clear she had lost. So when she finally gave in, and the two campaigns were supposed to merge. It was too late. The entire structure of the campaign was locked in stone. Further, 30% of LGBT voted for McCain. So it hasn't been a love affair.

    And you know he knows that.

    Obama was never the gay community's first choice. Unlike Kip who was for him from day 1.
    He would NOT be in office had it been up to the gays to decide. Clinton would be. Who also doesn’t feel we should be married,or call it marriage and her wonderful husband who signed the 2 death certificates to ever face this community D.A.D.T and D.O.M.A

    In the end, he was simply less frightening than McCain/Palin... and he probably still is.
    Remember, Palin tried but failed to ban gay-related books from the Wasilla public library and fired the librarian who opposed her.

    A book-burning, Rapture-ready birth certificate conspiracy nut, one stoking the white surpremist and religious extremist violence we see today, drove the gays in droves to vote for Obama...Because you felt you had NO CHOICE!

    And some of you fucking Hillaryites will never accept his crumbs. But if this were her most of you be finding a million and half reasons to excuse her eat her crumbs like you did her husband and beg for more while she would have done the same thing!

    One thing I will repeat what that idiot Michael Bedwell says. If you really want action. Stop making Andy Towle a load of coins with your so called frustration and GET OUT IN THE STREETS AND MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!

    Posted by: JuJuBeeBee | May 27, 2010 12:40:04 AM

  15. @ Tamapazeke

    Your last post is SPOT ON except for one part..Where you said
    "So do the people who didn't support him because they didn't trust him."

    No they don't need to say shit you voted for McCain then you deal what is given to you!

    Posted by: Chris | May 27, 2010 12:46:12 AM

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