Current Affairs

White House protesters released

PinkNews Staff Writer April 23, 2010
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Gay US soldier Dan Choi and five other military veterans have been released from jail after chaining themselves to the White House fence.

The six pulled the stunt on Tuesday to protest the military’s ban on out gay soldiers and were arrested on for failure to comply with a lawful order.

They were released the following day.

Lt Choi and Captain Jim Pietrangelo, who held a similar protest last month, were arrested with Petty Officer Larry Whitt, Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen, Cadet Mara Boyd and Cpl Evelyn Thomas.

All were charged with one misdemeanour of failing to obey a lawful order.

Lt Choi and Capt Pietrangelo rejected an offer to pay a fine and will face a combined trial for these charges and the same charges they incurred at last month’s protest.

The other four accepted the offer of a $100 fine in exchange for the case being dropped.

Lt Choi and Capt Pietrangelo will face trial on July 14th.

Meanwhile, the group behind the protests, GetEqual, told the DC Agenda it was planning more civil disobedience in the coming weeks.

Tuesday’s protest was based on the assertion that the Defence Authorisation Bill provides President Barack Obama with a way to repeal the ban immediately.

GetEqual argues that the president is not moving fast enough to lift the ban on out gay servicemembers. He promised he would repeal the law in his 2008 election campaign.

Under the current law, gay and lesbian soldiers must keep their sexual orientation secret. They can be fired if they, or someone else, reveals it.

Senate hearings on repeal began last month, although the process is expected to take at least a year.

Following his arrest last month, Lt Choi accused gay rights groups of ‘betraying’ gay people by not taking strong enough action to contest inequality.

Related topics: Americas

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