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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Vets handcuff selves to White House gates, get arrested (update)
From a News Release, April 20, 2010
2010-04-21

This article shared 3863 times since Wed Apr 21, 2010
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In Washington, D.C., gay-rights activist Lt. Dan Choi, along with five other LGBT discharged veterans—Capt. Jim Pietrangelo II, Petty Officer Larry Whitt, Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen, Cadet Mara Boyd and Cpl. Evelyn Thomas—handcuffed themselves to the White House gates April 20 to remind President Barack Obama about his promise to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ( DADT ) , according to a press release from GetEQUAL.

The demonstration occurred approximately one month after Choi and Pietrangelo were arrested for protesting in the same manner after a Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) rally. The LGBT-advocacy group GetEQUAL organized both handcuff protests.

According to CBS News, U.S. Park Police cleared the area and cut the chains in order to arrest the vets.

"We are handcuffing ourselves to the White House gates once again to demand that President Obama show leadership on repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' If the president were serious about keeping his promise to repeal this year, he would put the repeal language in his Defense Authorization budget," said Choi, according to GetEQUAL. "The president gave us an order at the Human Rights Campaign dinner to keep pressure on him and we will continue to return to the White House, in larger numbers, until the president keeps his promise to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' this year."

Thomas, who took part in the April 20 protest, said, "A few weeks ago I saw Lt. Dan Choi take dramatic action at the White House and it made me realize that I needed to do something to stand up for all the Black female soldiers who have been discharged under DADT. Many people don't know that we Black women are discharged disproportionately more than others under DADT."

On April 19, GetEQUAL activists interrupted Obama's speech at a fundraiser in Los Angeles, Calif., for Sen. Barbara Boxer. The Atlantic reported that Obama was told that he should repeal DADT, followed by a brief exchange between the activists and Obama. Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors said that "getting heckled is nothing compared to getting kicked out of the military and losing your job and getting fired simply because you're gay."


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