Obama's Dept of Justice Files Appeal to Continue “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: Activists Respond to Continued Broken Promises
LOS ANGELES, CA – Tomorrow, GetEQUAL -- a direct action lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization -- and local LGBT activists are set to protest President Obama at the University of Southern California’s “Move America Forward” rally over his continued broken promises on LGBT equal rights issues.
On October 12, Judge Virginia Phillips issued a ruling finding the "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" policy unconstitutional and ordering all discharges stopped worldwide. One week later, on October 20, the Department of Justice filed an emergency stay of the injunction with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to prevent the ruling from continuing to be implemented. Though no disruption to military readiness or effectiveness had been reported while the Pentagon allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly during the week, the Appeals Court issued a stay on the Judge’s order, activating “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” once again.
At tomorrow’s rally, GetEQUAL and local activists will hold banners demanding President Obama “Stop the Discharges Now,” repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and stand up for equal rights. Local organizer Michael McKeon said, “In light of Wednesday’s turn of events, President Obama’s legacy stands to be defined as pro-discrimination, rooted in his insistence to reinforce an unconstitutional, harmful law that reflects the worst of America. President Obama needs to do the right thing and stand up for those who are discriminated against, and truly Move America Forward.”
Over the past twelve days GetEQUAL has supported local activists whose collective voices represent the growing impatience over President Obama’s hypocrisy of saying one thing and doing another. In less than two weeks, activists have taken their frustration directly to the President in each of the four corners of the U.S. and the Heartland, including Miami, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Columbus. In Miami, the President was met by activists from all over the country demanding he “Stop the Discharges Now” and reinforcing the GetEQUAL campaign message of “We’ll Give When We GetEQUAL.” Among the local activists in Miami was Larry Whitt, a 12-year Navy veteran discharged for being gay. In Boston, Paul Sousa, local organizer and co-founder of Join the Impact Massachusetts, disrupted Obama during his speech, chanting, “Stop the bigotry, support marriage equality.” Sharing his impatience, Sousa stated, "President Obama knows better. As a former constitutional law professor, he understands the clear distinction between civil marriage and religious marriage."
In Seattle, activists protested President Obama’s lack of leadership and courage. Local GetEQUAL organizer and Western Washington University student Ben Crowther expressed his desire for Obama to be our fierce advocate, saying, “We need our elected leaders to show leadership and courage, and we need them to fight for our rights.” In San Francisco, local activists demanded the President repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and put an end to military discharges. Bay Area GetEQUAL activist Billy Bradford shared his frustration over the slow pace of change, stating, “Everything I do and the reason I do it is inspired by the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal rights for and protections of all citizens; not just a select few. We’re not making strides fast enough. I’m 55 years old and I would like to see full federal equality for LGBT people in my lifetime.”
In the lead-up to midterm elections, GetEQUAL will continue to meet the President at various campaign and fundraising stops, reminding him of the promises he has made throughout his 2008 campaign and into his Administration -- that he would be a "fierce advocate" for LGBT Americans.
WHAT: Protest of President Obama to demand that he show leadership and end "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell"
WHEN: Friday, October 22, 2010 from 9am – 12:30pm (PST)
WHERE: University of Southern California, Designated Protest Area
WHO: GetEQUAL and local California activists
GetEQUAL is a national, direct action lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization. Emphasizing direct action and people power, the mission of GetEQUAL is to empower the LGBT community and its allies to take action to demand full legal and social equality, and to hold accountable those who stand in the way. For more information on GetEQUAL, please visit: http://www.getequal.org. You can follow GetEQUAL on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/getequal, on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/getequal or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/getequal.
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