"Don’t ask, don’t tell" protesters arrested outside White House

by Michael K. Lavers

National News Editor

Monday November 15, 2010

More than a dozen people protesting the military's ban on openly gay and lesbian soldiers have been arrested outside the White House.

Lieutenant Dan Choi, Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen, Cpl. Evelyn Thomas, Robin McGehee and Dan Fotou of GetEQUAL, former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Miriam Ben-Shalom, former U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Justin Elzie, former U.S. Army linguist Ian Finkenbinder, Rob Smith, Roman Catholic priest Geoff Farrow, New York-based activist and blogger Scott Wooledge and Michael Bedwell chained themselves to the White House fence. Choi was among those taken into custody during similar "don't ask, don't tell" protests earlier this year.

"Today, we have sent a loud and clear message to the U.S. Senate and President Obama that we expect them to make good on their promises to end this inhumane law this year, during the lame-duck session of Congress," said McGehee in a statement released shortly before she and other protesters were taken into custody.

The arrests coincided with the start of Congress' lame duck session, which could provide the last realistic chance of repealing "don't ask, don't tell" until at least after the 2012 presidential election. President Obama has reiterated his opposition to the policy, but U.S. Sen. John McCain [R-Ariz.] is among those who continue to support "don't ask, don't tell".

Based in Washington, D.C., Michael K. Lavers has appeared in the New York Times, BBC, WNYC, Huffington Post, Village Voice, Advocate and other mainstream and LGBT media outlets. He is an unapologetic political junkie who thoroughly enjoys living inside the Beltway.