Lt. Choi chained self to White House fence for second time

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Choi2ArrestAbstr_821043856.jpgLt. Dan Choi is facing his second arrest in peaceful protest of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that prevents gay men and women from serving openly in the U.S. military.

Choi was joined by five other activists on April 20 when they chained themselves to the fence in front of the White House.

U.S. Park Police used chain cutters to free them before arresting them. Choi was arrested for the same act last month. He’s become a focal point for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” after coming out on television last March, an act which led to his dismissal from the military.

The policy is under review for repeal, but many argue that Congress is dragging its feet in getting rid of an outdated policy that forces gay soldiers to live a lie if they choose to serve their country.

A group called GetEqual may be behind the protest. The site urges visitors to support the soldiers – who reportedly include Capt. Jim Pietrangelo, Petty Officer Larry Whitt, Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen, Cadet Mara Boyd, and Cpl. Evelyn Thomas – “as they take action at the White House to demand that DADT be repealed.”

They also posted a message for President Obama:

Our hopes swelled when you promised at the State of the Union to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), the policy that discriminates against lesbian and gay servicemembers. But your words mean nothing without action. And you have an opportunity to take action right now. The Defense Authorization Bill (DAB) provides funding for all military operations, and it will soon be up for renewal.

You know that the DAB provides a way to repeal DADT immediately. And you know that repealing the policy quickly and decisively is the right thing to do for LGBT servicemembers and for all of the armed forces. But recent reports suggest that your Administration is trying to delay any law change until December or even later.

The time for action has passed, and we are tired of delays, excuses, and compromises. As Commander in Chief, we hold you responsible for continued discrimination against lesbian and gay servicemembers. I stand with Lt. Dan Choi, Capt. Jim Pietrangelo, Petty Officer Larry Whitt, Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen, Cadet Mara Boyd, and Cpl. Evelyn Thomas, who took action at the White House fence. We demand immediate action to repeal the policy through this year’s DAB.

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