Twenty-one members of a cross country tour promoting gay rights to Christian and military colleges were detained at the U.S. Military Academy last week while protesting the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
Members of the gay protest group Soulforce Equality Riders were issued citations on the last stop of their 20 campus tour.
The group is touring the nation in an attempt to start a dialogue among institution notorious for their discrimination of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, (LGBT) community.
Around 50 protesters arrived on buses at the gate of the U.S. Military Academy from the neighbouring town of Highland Falls. According to the Boston Globe, they were warned they risked federal charges if they tried to protest inside the campus.
After several trips through the gate, 21 members were cited by military police for entry to the property for unlawful purposes, a misdemeanour. Federal law prohibits protests on military installations.
“I felt it was definitely something I should be doing,” protester Chad Grandy, 20, of Michigan, who was among those ticketed, told the Globe. “To see government-sanctioned discrimination, it really bothers me.”
Several lawmakers have come forward in recent month to suggest the time has come to put an end to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which was set by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton.
The policy allows gays and lesbians to serve in the armed forces if they abstain from homosexual activity and do not disclose their sexual orientation.
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