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Breaking News Three Generations of Advocates and Veterans Fighting for Repeal

Breaking News Three Generations of Advocates and Veterans Fighting for Repeal

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Published by: Luna Media Group on Sep 01, 2011
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BREAKING NEWS: Three Generations of Advocatesand Veterans Fighting for Repeal of Military’s GayBan Arrested at White House Fence
Opening Day of the Lame-Duck Session of Congress: 12 Total Veterans and  Advocates Arrested; Call on U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, President Obama to Immediately Stop the Discharges
Washington, DC – This afternoon, three generations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender veterans and advocates went back to the White House fence to call for the U.S. Senate, MajorityLeader Harry Reid, and President Obama to make good on their promises to secure the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” during the abbreviated, lame-duck session of Congress that startedtoday.During the direct action organized by GetEQUAL – a national lesbian, gay, bisexual andtransgender (LGBT) civil rights organization – and local activists, 12 veterans and advocateshandcuffed themselves to the White House fence in an act of non-violent, civil disobedience protesting the un-American, discriminatory law yet to be repealed by Congress -- regardless of the numerous promises by President Obama, Congressional leaders and national LGBT leadersthat they would do so by the end of this year.Photos and video of the three generations of veterans and repeal advocates taking part in an actof civil disobedience today at the White House will soon be available online atwww.getequal.org<http://www.getequal.org> . Also, you can visit www.getequal.org  <http://www.getequal.org> or GetEQUAL’s Facebook page to stay up-to-date regarding thewell-being and release of the 12 veterans and advocates arrested today.
The 12 veterans and repeal advocates arrested today include:
Five veterans
(Lt. Dan Choi,
Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen, Cpl. Evelyn Thomas, Cpt.Jim Pieterangelo, and Cadet Mara Boyd) who were arrested back in March during theGetEQUAL organized “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” act of civil disobedience at the WhiteHouse fence demanding President Obama show leadership on repeal.]
Robin McGehee, co-founder and director of GetEQUAL.
Former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Miriam Ben-Shalom, who was discharged in 1976 for declaring and admitting she was a lesbian. She became the first-ever LGBTservicemember reinstated to her position in the U.S. Military, by a U.S. Federal DistrictCourt. On July 30th, 1993, Miriam and 26 other protesters were arrested at the WhiteHouse fence for protesting then-President Bill Clinton’s broken promise to repeal the gay ban – instead signing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” bill into law.
Former U.S. Marine Corps Sergean, Justin Elzie who, in 1993, became the first Marineever investigated and discharged under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. Elzie was alsothe first soldier to be discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" to fight his discharge andwin – resulting in his service as a Marine for four years as an openly gay man.
Former Army Arabic Linguist Ian Finkenbinder, who was discharged from the Army inDecember 2004 after announcing to his superiors that he was gay. Finkenbinder is an Iraqwar veteran and was about to return for a second tour of duty when he was discharged.
U.S. Army Veteran and Repeal Advocate Rob Smith, who was deployed to both Iraq andKuwait before being honorably discharged after deciding not to re-enlist in the U.S.Army due to the added pressure of living under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.
Father Geoff Farrow, a Catholic priest who spoke out against the church’s official stancein support of California’s Proposition 8, removing the rights of same-sex couples tomarry. Because of his courageous stance against Prop 8, Father Geoff Farrow wasremoved as pastor of St. Paul’s by his bishop and suspended as a priest.
Scott Wooledge, a New York-based LGBT civil rights advocate and blogger who haswritten extensively on the movement to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” at Daily Kos andPam's House Blend.
Michael Bedwell, long-time LGBT civil rights advocate, close friend of LeonardMatlovich, and administrator of the sitewww.leonardmatlovich.com <http://www.leonardmatlovich.com>“On the White House fence today, and in a jail cell this evening, are twelve American patriots,”said Robin McGehee, co-founder and director of GetEQUAL. “Included in the twelve arrestedare veterans and advocates spanning three generations of brave and courageous Americans, whosacrificed their careers and lives to see the day this discriminatory ban on openly gay and lesbianservice in the military finally goes into the history books. Today, we have sent a loud and clear message to the U.S. Senate and President Obama that we expect them to make good on their  promises to end this inhumane law this year, during the lame-duck session of Congress.”“Today, I stand again at the White House fence - 17 years later – still protesting the injustice andhypocrisy of a failed law,” said Miriam Ben-Shalom. “And with us today is not only the spirit of Lieutenant Enslin, the first to be discharged from the U.S. Military for being gay, but alsostanding here in spirit are every young woman and man awaiting discharge under the shameful‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law. They are here and we are here, all together still America'sdaughters and sons, still willing to serve and protect this country. I sincerely pray our country’selected leaders in Congress and the White House will have the courage to repeal this law andmake this the last time I have to come back to this fence and be arrested in protest of a law indirect contrast with our values and beliefs as Americans.”Earlier today at the Congressional Cemetery, GetEQUAL – along with veterans and other “Don’tAsk, Don’t Tell” repeal advocates – held a vigil at the gravesite of Sgt. Leonard Matlovich.Matlovich, a recipient of both the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, made headlines in the 1970s

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