This is a news release from gay-rights group GetEQUAL, released on Sunday and embargoed until 5 p.m. Monday:
“DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL” ACTIVISTS CONFRONT PRESIDENT OBAMA BY AIR, LAND, AND SEA AT NBA STAR'S FUNDRAISER IN MIAMI
GetEQUAL, along with a group of Florida and national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender activists, surround Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning’s house demanding President sign Executive Order Stopping Discharges
MIAMI, FL (October 11th, 2010)– Earlier Monday evening from 5:00 pm until 6:30 pm (ET), GetEQUAL, a national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, and other Floridian activists, unleashed a barrage of protests by air, land, and sea targeting President Obama for his failure to sign an executive order barring gay and lesbian servicemembers from being discharged under the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.
President Obama attended a star-studded Democratic Party fundraiser at NBA star Alonzo Mourning’s bayfront estate. During the hour and a half President Obama was at Alonzo's home for this big-money, Democratic Party fundraiser, LGBT activists confronted him at every turn, demanding he finally show some leadership and stop the discharges of openly gay and lesbian servicemembers by signing an executive order. Video and photos from today’s action will be released shortly and will be available at: www.getequal.org and www.youtube.com/getequal.
As the Presidential motorcade drove into the private estate located in Coconut Grove, activists held four 10 ft. signs demanding President Obama “End the Discharges Now,” and reminding him that “We’ll Give When We GetEQUAL”. The LGBT activists were stationed on the motorcade route directly outside of the private estate and at a park roughly a quarter of a mile down the road.
Inside the event, Democratic congressional candidate and Army veteran, Anthony Woods, who was discharged under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, approached President Obama to inform him what the protests were about, and to remind him of his campaign promises.
While the President was inside the private fundraiser, another round of protests were unleashed from the bay just outside the event. From the bay abutting Mourning’s home, a second swarm of LGBT activists arrived by boats with two 40 ft. signs and shouted via bullhorns “End the Discharges Now” and “We’ll Give When We GetEQUAL”.
During the second swarm by boat, LGBT activists also launched two, large 8 ft weather balloons carrying 10 ft. long banners reading “GetEQUAL.org”. Those weather balloons were anchored in the water directly in front of the tent hosting the dinner reception and highly visible to guests.
“President Obama has failed to deliver on his campaign promises to the LGBT community, and we will continue to remind him of that failure,” said Robin McGehee, co-founder and director of GetEQUAL. “If the President is going to travel around the country asking for our dollars and our votes, then we are going to travel with him and insist that he first give us some of the hope and change he he promised. As of now, we’re still hoping.”
President Obama’s Department of Justice is set to soon announce whether or not it will appeal a federal court judge’s ruling that the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law is unconstitutional.
“Regardless of the spin coming out of the White House, President Obama has the power to dramatically impact the course of civil rights history for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community,” continued McGehee. “Unfortunately, all we have yet to see from the President, who the LGBT community overwhelmingly supported, is excuses, delays and passing the buck off to someone else. That isn’t change we can believe in, that’s just more of the same.”
Back in June 2009, during an LGBT Pride Month reception at the White House, President Obama stated, “"And finally, I want to say a word about "don't ask, don't tell." As I said before -- I'll say it again -- I believe "don't ask, don't tell" doesn't contribute to our national security. (Applause.) In fact, I believe preventing patriotic Americans from serving their country weakens our national security. (Applause.) I know that every day that passes without a resolution is a deep disappointment to those men and women who continue to be discharged under this policy -- patriots who often possess critical language skills and years of training and who've served this country well. But what I hope is that these cases underscore the urgency of reversing this policy not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it is essential for our national security." (Office of the Press Secretary (2009, June 29). Remarks by the President Pride Reception Retrieve from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-lgbt-pride-month-reception)
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 at http://www.facebook.com/GetEQUAL, or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/getequal.