by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Staff Writer
On April 29, GetEQUAL, Queer Rising and Talk About Equality - all Gay equality advocacy organizations - announced that on May 2, at noon, discharged and active duty Gay servicemembers will protest at Lafayette Park in front of the White House.
According to GetEQUAL, the LGBT veterans are "demanding that Obama shows leadership and immediately repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' [DADT] as promised."
The Gay military ban, known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," requires the Defense Department to separate from the armed services members who engage in or attempt to engage in homosexual acts, state they are homosexual or Bisexual, or marry or attempt to marry a person of the same biological sex. Nearly 14,000 otherwise qualified men and women have been discharged from the military under DADT, and many thousands more have chosen to not re-enlist because of the policy. Enforcing and implementing the policy has cost U.S. taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
"On May 2, we will gather outside the White House to demand that President Obama immediately include DADT repeal language in his Defense Authorization transmittals to Congress to ensure repeal of the ban this year," GetEQUAL officials wrote in a press release.
Speakers at the protest include Lt. Dan Choi, Capt. Jim Pietrangelo II, Lt. Robin Chaurasiya, Cpl. Evelyn Thomas, Spc. Jarrod Chlapowski, Maj. Mike Almy, Capt. Tanya Domi, Cpl. Brett Edward Stout, Sgt. Brian Fricke, and Sgt. Justin Elzie.
On April 20, Lt. Dan Choi and five others - Capt. Jim Pietrangelo, Petty Officer Larry Whitt, Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen, Cadet Maria Boyd and Cpl. Evelyn Thomas - handcuffed themselves to the White House gates to demand that President Obama keep his promise to repeal DADT this year.
The action comes one month after Choi and Pietrangelo were arrested for a similar DADT protest at the White House in which they handcuffed themselves to the gates as hundreds of protesters looked on.
In his January State of the Union address, Obama promised to repeal DADT this year. Since that time, a series of statements from the administration have suggested that the president is no longer committed to repeal this year.
Leaders in Congress - including Barney Frank and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi - have called on the president to clarify his commitment and show leadership.
"The president remains AWOL," GetEQUAL proclaimed. "With the possibility of losses in the House and Senate for Democrats this fall, waiting for a review of DADT may very likely delay repeal for years. The LGBT community and allied communities will continue to put pressure on the president and members of Congress to follow through with their pledge to repeal DADT this year."
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