UPDATE: Lt. Dan Choi’s Arrest — Responses, Rallies, Reactions

Here’s are some updates on yesterday’s arrest of Lt. Dan Choi, Capt. Pietrangelo, and Robin McGehee after chaining themselves to the fence of the White House.

GetEQUAL co-founder Robin McGehee, who was arrested after helping Choi handcuff himself, was released with a $35 fine. In this video, McGehee talks about her arrest.

Lt. Choi and Capt. Pietrangelo were held without bail and are scheduled to appear in court today at 1:00 p.m. They are charged with failure to obey a lawful order,m and apparently, the authorities are playing some hardball with the arrested soldiers.

The HRC, doing some damage control after Joe Solmonese was left looking decidedly non-activist after not following Choi to the White House, released this statement:

There’s been some confusion about Lt. Dan Choi’s role in the rally. As Joe Solmonese was walking to the stage, Lt. Choi asked Joe if he could have a speaking role. Joe explained that it wasn’t his sole decision to make on the spot given that there was already an established program that included Kathy Griffin, other organization and veterans. After Choi then spoke with Kathy Griffin, she agreed to bring him up on stage and speak to the crowd during her remarks.

Lt. Choi in his speech called on the crowd to march on the White House. Joe Solmonese along with Eric Alva and others felt it was important to stay and engage those at the rally in ways they can continue building the pressure needed for repeal. This does nothing to diminish the actions taken by Lt. Choi and others. This is the nature of social change and everyone has a role to play.

But Americablog says this is untrue:

That is simply untrue. I was there, standing next to Dan, about 10 feet from Kathy Griffin and Solmonese. They were behind a rope line, to keep them from the rally attendees. They looked over at Dan when he asked them, for the second time, to come with him to the White House (mind you, they had no idea that he was planning to handcuff himself), and they just stared back at him. They were not helping engage the rally about how to build pressure – the rally was over, they were already off the stage, behind it actually, getting ready to leave behind a secure rope line to separate them from the crowd. I’m sorry, but this statement is flat out untrue. They were getting their photos taken. Unbelievable.

CBS writes on the apparent rift between the HRC and LGBT activists:

Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese did not march to the White House, in an illustration of the split in the gay rights movement between establishment organizations like the HRC, which generally support the Obama administration, and activists like Choi, who are pushing more aggressively for action.

David Mixner wonders “Is This The Birth Of A Civil Rights Movement….?” While the Huffington Post’s Rob Smith, who is also a gay veteran, asks, Did Dan Choi Jump the Shark, or Has the Gay Community Forgotten What Real Activism Is? Smith writes:

This is either bold gay activism, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the days of ACT UP, or it is a deafening cry for attention that just damaged the brand and credibility of one of the few real gay leaders the community has right now.

There is an NYC rally for Choi and Pietrangelo today at noon. More info here. One in Orlando, too.

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