Editor’s note: Kip Williams of GetEQUAL sent this e-mail Tuesday night to the news media and gay rights supporters. He was arrested after interrupting President Barack Obama during a speech in San Francisco on Tuesday night.
I wasn't going to write to you tonight. But I also didn't plan to get arrested today for holding President Obama accountable to his promise to end “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” (DADT).
We heard Monday about a "deal" the White House helped broker with Congress and the Secretary of Defense. Although this deal is an important step toward the repeal of DADT, it will allow the discharges of lesbian and gay servicemembers to continue indefinitely.
Today I heard President Obama speak at an event in San Francisco. When he praised Congress for "acting quickly to save jobs" last year, I thought about my lesbian and gay friends who have been kicked out of the military simply for having the integrity to be open and honest about who they are. So I interrupted our President, and I asked him to stop all discharges of lesbian and gay servicemembers until the policy is fully repealed.
Join me and GetEQUAL in demanding that President Obama issue an Executive Order to end the discharges:
President Obama's response was disheartening (you can watch it BELOW). As the police detained and escorted me out of the room, he told the crowd that I don't read the newspapers. Otherwise, he said, I would know that he's been working with Congress to move on the issue very soon. But I do read the newspapers, and while it is imperative to pass this bill, it just doesn't go far enough. As long as lesbian and gay servicemembers are being discharged, we still have a problem - and this bill doesn't tell us if or when those discharges are going to stop.
It broke my heart to face off with my President tonight. I was proud to work on his campaign, and I still believe in him. But as long as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are fired from our jobs, discharged from the military, denied marriage rights and immigration equality - as long as we are second-class citizens - I can't be silent.
President Obama has the power to act NOW to end discharges of lesbian and gay servicemembers. Join us in calling on him to do that: http://getequal.org/dadt.php
For the record, I didn't "heckle" my President tonight. I simply asked him to do the right thing - what he already promised he would do. And as long as we keep up the pressure, I still believe he'll do it.
Get Out, Get Active, GetEQUAL
Kip and the GetEQUAL crew