WEST CHESTER, OH — On Tuesday, March 29, at 8am, five GetEQUAL activists will sppear in Ohio Municipal Court to answer to charges of Criminal Trespassing. Sean Watkins, Elizabeth Mills, Morgan Bonney, Jesse Bonney, and Karay Martin were arrested outside Speaker of the House John Boehner's West Chester district office on March 9 while attempting to deliver over 33,000 CREDO Action and GetEQUAL petition signatures, asking the Speaker to not use taxpayer resources to defend the “Defense of Marriage Act” in court.
The “Ohio 5” were denied access to Speaker Boehner's office, even though the Speaker has a public open door policy on his website that urges his constituents to come and share any grievances they may have with their local or federal government. The activists were attempting to deliver the signatures urging the Speaker not to defend the unconstitutional law, known as “DOMA,” which prevents same-sex couples from over 1100 federal rights that come with legal marriage. The Obama Administration recently announced it would no longer defend the law in court, so it is now up to the Speaker as to whether he will spend taxpayer resources for a legal team to defend the law.
The five activists will be represented pro bono by Scott Greenwood, a nationally-known First Amendment rights attorney. Although Mr. Greenwood works with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), he will be representing the activists in a private capacity.
“The fact that the Speaker of the House of the United States of America refused to hear the grievances of citizens and constituents, and chose instead to lock them out of his office in the rain, then having them arrested, is despicable,” says Sean Watkins, Western Ohio Lead Organizer for GetEQUAL, and one of those arrested. “We found out on March 9 that the Speaker's door is only open to those who agree with his policies and politics. To spend taxpayer dollars to defend DOMA is nothing more than taxpayer-funded bigotry."
GetEQUAL is a national, direct action LGBT 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 www.getequal.org. GetEQUAL’s Facebook page can be found at www.facebook.com/getequal, and GetEQUAL’s Twitter feed is @getequal.
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