LOS ANGELES | A group of gay rights activists disrupted President Obama’s speech at a fundraiser here for Sen. Barbara Boxer Monday night, decrying what they describe as Mr. Obama’s inaction on overturning the military’s ban on gay service members and calling on him to submit repeal language to Congress.
The activists interrupted Mr. Obama in the middle of his remarks to high-value Democratic donors during a reception at the California Science Center, with one protester shouting from the audience, “What about ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell?’”
Mr. Obama yelled back, “We are going to do that.”
He kept talking, increasing his volume to be heard over the protesters as the crowd took up a chant of “Yes, we can,” to drown them out.
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Another protester later interrupted the president again, shouting, “It’s time for equality for all Americans.”
The protest was organized by GetEQUAL, a new lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group that also orchestrated protests outside the fundraiser being held for Ms. Boxer, a three-term incumbent who is facing a tough re-election fight. GetEQUAL was also behind a protest last month at the White House, where activist Lt. Dan Choi and Capt. James Pietrangelo handcuffed themselves to a gate to highlight the administration’s failure to reverse the military’s longtime policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
“While the president firmly committed to repeal DADT in his State of the Union this past January, since that time he has gone silent on whether he wants to see the anti-gay law repealed this year,” the group said in a press release Monday announcing its outdoor protest activities.
Like many immigrant-rights activists, gay rights groups have been losing patience with Mr. Obama, who promised during the presidential campaign to be a “fierce advocate” of equal rights. Though the president has pledged to get rid of the Don’t ask, don’t tell policy, and top members of the military brass have gone on the record in agreement, the Pentagon has yet to repeal it.