Lt. Dan Choi, the decorated officer and Arabic linguist being discharged by the Army under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", was arrested and will spend the night in a Washington DC jail after chaining himself to the front gate of the White House in a protest of that policy.
Choi took the stage anyway. "You've been told that the White House has a plan," Choi told rally
attendees. "But we learned this week that the president is still not
fully committed. ... Following this rally, I will be leading [the
protest] to the White House to say 'enough talk.' ... Our fight is not here at Freedom Plaza, it is at the White House. We are
walking to the White House right now to send the President a message.
So…take out your cell phones and your cameras. Document this moment.
Join us as together -- we make history."
"When asked by Choi if she would march with him to the White House,
Griffin responded, 'Of course!'" reports The Advocate's Kerry Eleveld. "Neither Griffin nor Solmonese was seen
at the White House protest, however"
Also arrested at the event: Robin McGehee, the California-based LGBT
activist who was the co-director of the National Equality March and
organized the post-Prop 8,
"Meet in the Middle 4 Equality" rallies in Fresno. McGehee's new group GetEqual organized
today's DADT protest.
Kathy Griffin's camera crews for her "reality" show were also absent . They failed to capture the video of two decorated Army officers in a civil disobedience action calling attention to the lack of leadership by the Commander in Chief on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' But several reporters, the AP and CNN were there, more photos and video WHEN YOU JUMP ...
There's an excellent report by Media Matters that refutes the distortions and falsehoods surrounding the debate on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Along with a coalition of progressives, LGBT groups and activists, Media Matters wrote an open letter to the media urging them to be careful of inaccurate reporting surrounding the military's ban on openly gay troops.
Don't Ask, Don't Tell proponents too often paint a
distorted picture of what a repeal would mean. Today, Media Matters
for America released a comprehensive
detailing how opinion pages and cable news talk shows have been flooded
falsehoods and anti-gay rhetoric to support the dubious argument that
Ask, Don't Tell is working.
that repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell would adversely affect unit
retention, or the HIV rate among servicemembers are not based in
Similarly, the anti-gay rhetoric permeating many of these arguments only
to cheapen the national discussion on this important issue.
Because news outlets continue to repeat these
outrageous myths, a
coalition of organizations is banding together to combat misinformation
the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law. As Congress moves forward on this
we will be vigilant in ensuring that news reports are accurate and fair.
public deserves an honest debate -- not one marred by blatant falsehoods
Among the co-signers are Lt. Dan Choi, Courage Campaign, GLAAD, HRC and NGLTF,
Lt. Dan Choi continues to impress as a spokesman for gays and lesbians, and expecially those in uniform. Choi, the decorated officer and Arabic linguist who was famously discharged by the Army, was recently asked to return to drill by his commander in the New York National Guard. Choi discussed his return to uniform on CNN's Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. Rough transcript as follows:
CHOI: It felt good [to be back in uniform]...The thing that I found the most amazing, so many people came up to me to talk about their gay brother, or that they're okay with gay people. It really opened up the conversation.
BLITZER: Was anyone hostile or seemingly uncomfortable?
CHOI: When you assume that people would be uncomfortable and quit you are insulting soldiers in the most treacherous way. I can't believe there are people that are saying a soldier would quit. You want to insult a soldier in the worst way? Tell him he's going to quit. Tell him he's a quitter.
More developments on the eve of the eagerly-anticipated federal challenge to Proposition 8 that will begin Monday in San Francisco. The American Foundation for Equal Rights, which launched Perry v. Schwarzenegger and is funding the superstar legal team of Theodore Olson and David Boies to argue the case, has named an advisory board that includes civil rights icon Julian Bond, Lt. Dan Choi and other notables.
Says NAACP Board Chairman Julian Bond on the case: "The humanity of all Americans is diminished when any group is denied rights granted to others. This is not a special interest case, but one that should be of great importance to everyone who believes in the principles of equality on which this nation was founded."
Bond recently testified at the New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee's marriage equality hearings. He also spoke at the National Equality March in October.
In addition to Bond and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" activist Lt. Dan Choi, the list includes: Republican strategist Margaret Hoover; labor activist Dolores Huerta; Cleve Jones; Stuart Milk; David Mixner; the Huffington Post's Hilary Rosen; and Judy Shepard. Kudos to AFER Board President Chad Griffin for assembling such an all-star team.
Lt. Dan Choi and former congressional candidate Anthony Woods, who were discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", join other LGBT veterans today for the ceremonial wreath laying at the Tomb Of The Unknowns at Arlington National
Cemetery. This was one of dozens of events throughout the weekend that culminate in Sunday’s National Equality March.
CNN's Anderson Cooper hosted a great debate "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" last night, featuring discharged former Lt. Dan Choi and gay-obsessed Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness.
Donnelly makes a rather bizarre claim—"The law says that homosexuals are not eligible to serve in the military"—and moves on to the usual talking points about about showers, sleeping quarters and "forced intimacy."
Choi responds: "Well, I think the harm is you really hurt the soldiers that are having to get deployed now without effective, capable soldiers. It's a matter of capabilities. Now I'm an Arabic linguist. And when I get kicked out, it's not that I'm the victim. It's the soldiers in my unit that aren't able to communicate. So the question is to you, Elaine, I have to ask you, (SPEAKING ARABIC) If you can't answer that question, that's not a problem. If the soldiers can't answer that, it's very devastating."
And why is this woman who has never worn the uniform debating a West Point graduate on military readiness ... ?
In letters to Gates and Obama dated Sept. 24th and obtained by HuffPost, the Nevada Democrat asks each to 'bring to Congress your recommendations on DADT' -- the policy that allows gay or lesbian Americans to serve in the military as long as they don't mention that they are gay or lesbian. A legislative fix could be difficult; it is not at all clear that the Senate could find 60 votes to overcome a likely filibuster. Reid, therefore, is calling in Obama. 'As Congress considers future legislative action, we believe it would be helpful to hear your views on the policy,' he writes. 'Your leadership in this matter is greatly appreciated and needed at this time.'
Reid, in the letters, also highlights the plight of two servicemen, one of whom he met when he was the keynote speaker at a recent Las Vegas Human Rights Campaign Gala Dinner. First Lieutenant Daniel Choi was a West Point grad, served in Iraq and was an Arab linguist. In April, he received a discharge letter from the Army after publicly revealing he was gay, Reid writes to Obama. Lieutenant Colonel Victor Fehrenbach is headed for a 'similar fate,' Reid tells Obama. He was an 18-year Air Force vet who has flown numerous missions against Taliban and al-Qaida targets, 'including the longest combat mission in his squadron's history.' The government, Reid notes, has invested $25 million on his training."
Meanwhile, the Boston Globe reports an article in the next issue of Joint Force Quarterly, the Pentagon's top scholarly journal, calls for the ban's repeal. Col. Om Prakash, now working in the office of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates writes: "There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that unit cohesion will be negatively affected" and "It is not time for the administration to reexamine the issue; rather it is time for the administration to examine how to implement the repeal of the ban."
The article won the 2009 Secretary of Defense National Security Essay competition. Its publication in the Joint Chiefs’ flagship security studies journal has a been called a "breakthrough development."
Last night the White House responded to Reid: "The President appreciates the Majority Leader's letter and looks forward to working with him and other members of Congress as they move towards a legislative repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
More than 30 speakers, representing the diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and its straight allies, will take the stage at a rally following the march on the west lawn of the Capitol.
Longtime gay activist David Mixner will [be] on the stage [with] the national co-chairs of the march, Cleve Jones, Lt. Dan Choi, and Nicole-Murray Ramirez. Co-directors of the march, Kip Williams and Robin McGehee, also will be speaking. Civil rights leader Julian Bond, will be one of the featured speakers. Bond was a founder Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and today serves as Board Chairman of the NAACP, the country’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Bond likens the National Equality March to the Civil Rights March of 1963. 'We had a dream and marched on Washington to demand our rights; I am proud to stand with the LGBT community as they march for theirs,' he said.
St. Olaf college student Richard Aviles will be speaking on behalf of student activists from across the country, who have organized for the march and are descending on Washington. Also speaking will be Judy Shepard, who lost her son Matthew to a murder motivated by anti-gay hate and who founded the Matthew Shepard Foundation in his memory. The Foundation is dedicated to working toward the causes championed by Matthew during his life: social justice, diversity awareness and education, and equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people."
Lt. Dan Choi, the Army National Guardsman and Arabic translator who openly challenged the military's failed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy after coming out on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, has been recommended for discharge.
The Federal Recognition Board's findings were despite the fact "every witness on both sides" testified the West Point graduate and decorated Iraqi combat officer was an asset to his unit. Choi vows to take his fight all the way to the Secretary of Defense and the the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
Choi's dismissal comes on the same day Defense Secretary Robert Gates claims the Pentagon hopes to make DADT investigations more "humane." WHEN YOU JUMP, watch MSNBC's report on Choi's dismissal. Also watch the Rachel Maddow segment where this West Point graduate came out and risked his military career. Lt, Dan Choi, another highly decorated and "humane" casualty of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"