Robin McGehee Hub

Lt. Dan Choi, GetEQUAL Activist Robin McGehee Invited to White House for 'DADT' Repeal Signing


UPDATE: Ceremony to be held at Dept. of Interior.

GetEQUAL activist Robin McGehee tweeted a short time ago that she and Lt. Dan Choi have received invites to the White House for the signing of the 'DADT' repeal bill.

Obama plans to sign the bill on Wednesday morning.

McGehee and Choi have been involved in several anti-DADT acts of civil disobedience leading to their arrests, most notably after chaining themselves to the White House fence.

In a statement regarding the measure's repeal, posted today at the Huffington Post, Choi speaks to Obama directly:

"President Obama, you are not off the hook. The compromise bill passed today puts the moral imperative squarely on your desk. Sign an executive order instituting a full non-discrimination policy throughout the military. If you do not, if you drag your feet and politicize this with your theoretical calculations as you have these past two years, you will be guilty of abetting those who loudly proclaim homophobia from their platforms and pulpits. Provide them no shelter or safe haven. Institute justice now."

(image chris geidner twitter)

Lt. Dan Choi and Seven GetEQUAL Activists Arrested After Blocking Vegas Strip in ENDA Protest

Twenty activists from GetEQUAL shut down the Las Vegas strip this afternoon after unfurling a banner calling on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to bring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to a vote.

Enda2  Eight activists were arrested, including Lt. Dan Choi and GetEQUAL co-founder Robin McGehee after stopping traffic on Las Vegas Boulevard and unfurling a banner that read “REID: No One Can Do More?”.  Others formed a picket line with signs reading “I can still be fired for who I am” and unfurling a banner across the pedestrian walk between MGM and New York, New York casinos thatread, “REID: PASS ENDA NOW!”

Despite promises from Democratic leadership that action would be taken on the bill this session, no vote has been scheduled.

There is an excellent set of photos from the demonstration HERE, shot by Steve Friess of Vegas Happens Here (as are the photos in this post).


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...

Continue reading "GetEQUAL Co-founder Kip Williams Arrested at Obama Event:

Barney Frank Unhappy with 'GetEQUAL' Disruption of House Panel

Barney Frank wasn't pleased about the disruption of the House Education and Labor Committee meeting yesterday by activists from GetEQUAL.

Said Frank:Barney  

''What a stupid thing to do.''

''immature, tacky''

''no help whatsoever"

''How does this help us get the bill passed? Who's mind are they going to change?''

Robin McGehee of GetEQUAL's response? ''Prove us wrong, and make it happen. Everything we do, we do respectfully. We have to disrupt, because we don't have the access to power. I would say, from his position of power, as an openly gay man, who is serving his community well . . . he may no longer be able to identify with those suffering with fear of job loss or other problems because of their identity.''

Yesterday, more than 200 organizations issued a statement to Congress. The statement:  “Pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act NOW.”

GetEQUAL to Protest Obama Today Over 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Activist group GetEQUAL, who were the group behind the recent "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" action in which Lt. Dan Choi and Captain Jim Pietrangelo chained themselves to the White House fence as well as the recent sit-ins in Nancy Pelosi's office over ENDA, will protest today as President Obama makes an appearance at a fundraiser for Senator Barbara Boxer in L.A.

Fierceadvocate GetEQUAL announces why they'll be demonstrating in a press release:

"To demand that President Obama include DADT repeal language in his Defense Authorization budget that is in the process of being sent to Congress, and that he publicly state his support for repeal this year. While the President firmly committed to repeal DADT in his State of the Union this past January, since that time he has gone silent on whether he wants to see the anti-gay law repealed this year. Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) recently said that he is 'disappointed' and 'frustrated' with the Obama administration's silence on DADT, and Frank has called on President Obama to publicly state his desire to repeal DADT this year."

The protest will be held at the California Science Center - Wallis Annenberg Bldg, Exposition Park, 39th St. & Figueroa St in Los Angeles.

On another note, the group has posted a public letter to Obama (which you can sign) thanking him for his recent memorandum ordering hospitals to give visitation and medical power of attorney rights to same-sex couples. The letter highlights the case I posted about over the weekend of Clay Greene and Harold Scull, the elderly gay couple who were separated by the Sonoma County and kept apart while their possessions were sold. 

Watch: Robin McGehee Video Statement on Yesterday's Civil Disobedience by GetEQUAL


GetEQUAL's Robin McGehee discusses the arrests yesterday and why GetEQUAL is taking civil disobedient action.

Says McGehee: "We believe we need to do more than lobbying, making phone calls, and giving money to people who are not making true to the promises we were given. And that's the reason that we organized with Lt. Dan Choi and Cpt. James Pietrangelo today, to take action at the White House where true pressure needs to be given. Everyone knows that without repeal language added to the Defense Authorization bill, that there is not a true course or a true plan of action that will be successful by this year's end."


Continue reading "Watch: Robin McGehee Video Statement on Yesterday's Civil Disobedience by GetEQUAL" »


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