Bobby Parker

Repeal of DADT Solidarity Rally in Phoenix Arizona

Filed By Bobby Parker | May 03, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: Autumn Sandeen, Don't Ask Don't Tell, ENDA, Lonnie Allen Howard-Stidam, summer of action

While six brave activists were chaining themselves to the White House Fence and getting arrested yesterday, simultaneously Petty Officer Lonnie Allen Howard-Stidham and supporters from more than a dozen LGBT Howard-Stidham.jpgorganizations in Phoenix marched in solidarity on Senator John McCain's HQ. McCain is a ranking member of the Armed Services Committee in the U.S. Senate and is accused of flip flopping on DADT to help him in a tough reelection campaign.

Howard-Stidham and four others dubbed by national media the McCain Five (Howard-Stidham, Jimmy Gruender, Meg Sneed, Luisa Valdez and Lee Waters) were arrested a week ago for a sit-in in front of the door to McCain's HQ office. The have vowed to do it over and over to bring attention to repeal of DADT

The reason Howard-Stidham is doing this in his own words:

I have had people ask, Allen why are you doing this now? And I say because we have never been this close to having this law repealed as we are now. In a few short weeks both the House and Senate will be doing markups to the Defense Authorization Act. What does that mean? It means that repeal language on Don't Ask, Don't Tell can be added into this Act, making it the best possible way to get this law repealed this year, while Democrats still have the majority. So I feel that right now we need to be making as much "NOISE "as possible. We can't sit back and be reactive on this subject. We can't wait to see what happens and then protest and rally. We have to do it now. We have to say enough is enough and we demand equality. I truly deep in my heart feel that once DADT is repealed it will have a domino effect, with DOMA and ENDA following suit.

I am also fighting for those currently serving. As I have stated, I would go back in the Coast Guard without a second thought. But right now, it's not about if I would go or if I will be able to go. It's about those currently serving under this law. The isolation, the fear, the aloneness that this law creates for GLBT service members is damaging. We say that our service members need to have Honor and Integrity. But in the same words we are telling our GLBT service members not to have those qualities if they want to serve. We are telling them to lie about who they are when a coworker asks about family life. We are telling them to lie to their doctors because if their military doctor finds out about their orientation they are finished. How much longer is President Obama's Administration going to make us "wait" until the timing is right for them? We can no longer be silent on this issue, we need to come together and stand and fight for those currently fighting for our freedoms under this law. We need to be their voice. As a person on the radio says all the time here in Arizona "Character Matters!"

H.E.R.O. is calling for a Summer of Action and plans civil disobedience to bring attention to equality issues. When Lt. Dan Choi and others chained himself to the White House fence it touched off an intense debate nationally and locally in the GLBT community. Med Sneed, Chair of the Action Committee, speaking for H.E.R.O. said, "Summer events will include a marriage sit-in and other actions around Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the Defense of Marriage Act, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the blood ban and the right to marry."



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Keep at it! Repeal, baby, repeal! (to borrow a silly line from the other side of the aisle)

This behavior isn't "brave" and it doesn't change any minds or votes. How about trying something that's helpful or effective? You can protest all you want McCain isn't going to change his mind. That would take understanding, and rationale - two things missing from your self-serving publicity stunts.

We don't need attention (especially like LGBTeaBaggers), we need results. If you think these stunts help us change minds or votes in the US Congress, please explain how - not in 1960s references, but in 2010 terms. HOW do they help? Otherwise, PLEASE STOP.

Michael @ | May 3, 2010 6:06 PM

This comment has been deleted for violation of the Terms of Service.

While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising.

I think future comments by AndrewW should be moderated. Moderators can block future non-productive comments of this nature. AndrewW has overstayed his welcome due to having made so many virtually identical posts in the past.

While the rest of us enjoy a respite from his negativity AndrewW might benefit from seeing mental health experts to be evaluated/treated for what appears to be obsessive–compulsive personality disorder (OCPD).

In the following from I've placed "*" in front of known AndrewW proclivities.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fourth edition, DSM IV-TR, defines OCPD as follows. ...

"A pervasive pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control, at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

*Is preoccupied with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost.

*Shows perfectionism that interferes with task completion (e.g., is unable to complete a project because his or her own overly strict standards are not met)

Is excessively devoted to work and productivity to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships (not accounted for by obvious economic necessity)

*Is overconscientious, scrupulous, and inflexible about matters of morality, ethics, or values (not accounted for by cultural or religious identification)

Is unable to discard worn-out or worthless objects even when they have no sentimental value

*Is reluctant to delegate tasks or to work with others unless they submit to exactly his or her way of doing things

Adopts a miserly spending style toward both self and others; money is viewed as something to be hoarded for future catastrophes

*Shows rigidity and stubbornness

I don't resort to calling anyone names or (like your comment) suggesting that people who simply disagree with the tactics of GetEqual are "mentally ill."

Are you suggesting that Barney Frank also needs mental help? He called these stunts "immature and tacky" and said "they don't change any minds."

It is telling that the simple idea of accountability for all tactics, ideas, methods, strategies and organizations intimidates the "direct action" crowd. In the future, please address the lack of evidence of any effectiveness for these stunts. It is important to determine what helps and what hurts our movement.

AndrewW wrote: "It is important to determine what helps and what hurts our movement.."

AndrewW meant (as usual): "It is important for anyone BUT MYSELF to determine what helps and what hurts our movement."

Prove me wrong, AndrewW. Can YOU make any positive contribution to LGBT equality?

As for Representative Barney Frank what evidence does he have that direct action does not change minds? Considering that direct action has been used to advantage by members of disadvantaged groups for hundreds of years in the USA the evidence is on the side of the direct action proponents.

A variety of approaches is necessary for overcoming bigotry. Some of us prefer to work behind the scenes and some prefer direct action. Both approaches are of value.

We know these stunts do not change any minds. The majority of people who have commented on GetEqual's stunts have dismissed them as childish and ineffective. That should encourage them to provide some reasoning or justification. The media has also ignored them.

If you want to promote them, tell us how they are effective. Fill in the blanks:

Protesting and demanding, without any threat, changes minds because they ________________.

Heckling the President in an attempt to embarrass him, changes minds because ___________________.

Trying to embarrass our friends like Nancy Pelosi and Chairman Miller with silly stunts change minds because they _______________________.

Getting arrested at John McCains office because you wanted to yell at him and tell him you are angry/frustrated changes minds because _________________.

swimaster99 | May 4, 2010 11:08 AM

First, we activists are not associated with Get Equal. They are a complete different entity. Also... We didn't ge to McCains office yell at him and be disrespetful. If you knew me "Allen" you would know that I am not that kind of person. I went there as a constituent to speak with my Senator about his stance and to tell him my story. By being diplomatic and trying to speak with those that may not agree with us is the only way we will make change. He is my Senator, wether I like it or not. And as such he is the person I should be going too. I don't agree with some of the tactics that have taken place in other parts of the country on this policy. But I will be going to other AZ Congressional representatives and our other Senator as well to speak with them. My intent is to speak with our representatives and if that means I have to be arrested because I won't leave till I do..... Then so be it

Why can't you see the benefit of speaking to your Senator's constituents, instead of him?

The reality is that John McCain is not going to change his mind about us until the polling data indicates his voters have changed their minds.

In 30 years, even HRC with +$550 million spent on lobbying they have never changed a single mind in the US Congress.

This anti-gay position some politicians have is based on their moral belief that we are wrong, sinful or deviant. It's not negotiable. Lobbying, protesting, inconveniencing have all been tried.

You have a compelling and important story - share it with your neighbors. Write letters to the editor. Call in to radio talk-shows. Do whatever you can to tell your story to people that will listen. John McCain won't - unless you have some polling data.

Just my thoughts. I appreciate your efforts and commitment.

Thanks for keeping us up to date, Bobby. I'm glad to have you on the ground in Arizona as all this plays out.

Andrew.... WELL SAID!!! And for the moderator.... there were no personal attacks. He didn't say so and so this or that. He has an opinion. My not be the one all of them want to hear. But that is the beauty of the internet. You don't always get what you want. Other people have opinions too. And if you want this on here you are going to have to expect that. Sorry.

I honestly don't care. I would rather all the GLBT go into the military. So what only straight people can go and be killed in IRAQ? Heck no... that right there is where you should focus... that they are protecting the GLBT people.... WHY? Let them fight too!

Wendell Cochran | May 4, 2010 2:20 PM

Americans generally disdain lawlessness, anarchy, destruction of property and violence in their efforts to affect political change, hopeing, of course, that gentile petitions and political intercouse will prevail in whatever cause they promote. However, if we look to our history we can't help but see that the greatest lasting changes in policy have been the results of dramatic group actions, either by proponents of unpopular causes, or by reactionary acts of violence against them. Civil rights for African Americans would have less than forth coming had not we seen the brutish acts of supression inflicted on civil rights workers and peaceful demonstrators on television. The graphic physical brutality was a wakeup call to the majority of Americans to the fact that African American Citizens were in fact being subjected to out moded social customs and regressive state laws in a manner that were no longer acceptable in a modern world. Out of the civil turmoil came the the Civil Rights Act -- if for no other reason than it both shamed and frightened the leadership in Washington in to doing something, anything, to put a stop to the carnage being played out night after night on the evening news. A similar kind of radical action was needed thirty years ago to bring the attention to plight of the American Indian into the halls of Congress. It was accomplished by what was called by white racists as an "uprising" that resulted in the stand off at Wounded Knee, the occupation of Alcatraz Island, and the sit in/take over of the Department of Interior in the Nation's Capitol. The result of their activism brought about a whole set of new laws and regulations that forced the federal governent to live up to long ago promises made to Native Americans by way of treaties in exchange for giveing up their lands. Out of the Laws that were hastily enacted to put an end to the public demonstrations came civil rights that effectively restored tribal soverienty and a reexamining to treaty rights which the courts had long held had never been abrogated, neither of which would have ever happened had not the Inidans resorted to the only recourse they saw as being open to them in order to get the attention of Congress and the American people.

It appears that it is The American Way, the only way, that classes of citizens can effectively gain full citizenship rights when other means to address their grievences for justice have been thwarted, disallowed or simply ignored. When Gays have had enough foot dragging by Congress, demonification by the rabid conservative relegious right, corrupt politicians and special interest groups, and the accptance of the status quo in which we have become permanent second class citizens it would not be outside the rhelm of possibilities that strong dramatic action will be the only recourse we too have in order to right the wrongs we now endure.

Civil rights and equality under the law is our birthright. How much longer must we live in fear and degradation before we are forced rise up and demand that which is provided for every other class or group of American except us? Perhaps it is time thing about dramatic acts of civil unrest just to make the point that we are here to stay, we are not going away, and we will not continue to meekly accept hollow words and empty political promises.

"When Gays have had enough foot dragging by Congress, demonification by the rabid conservative relegious right, corrupt politicians and special interest groups, and the accptance of the status quo in which we have become permanent second class citizens it would not be outside the rhelm of possibilities that strong dramatic action will be the only recourse we too have in order to right the wrongs we now endure."

Respectfully, we are NOT Black and we are NOT Native Americans. Your references are of a distant past and very different issues. I understand the desire to fight but it isn't productive.

Two-thirds of our fellow citizens will support us and our full equality. That's the new reality. Yelling, demanding and irritating isn't a strategy. Asking people to join us so that we may outnumber the bigoted IS a strategy. Our community needs to focus on something that can actually work and let go of the expressions of anger that DO NOT inspire people to listen, understand and support us.

Our equality is available. Without threats, demands or attention-seeking publicity stunts. The World has changed - it's our turn.