In the crush of local and national and international news, getting a line in an article can be considered a major victory. GetEqual succeeded in getting a toe in that door.
Yesterday evening, GetEQUAL and other Floridian activists, unleashed a barrage of protests by air, land, and sea targeting President Obama for his failure to sign an executive order barring gay and lesbian servicemembers from being discharged under the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law.
President Obama attended a star-studded Democratic Party fundraiser at NBA star Alonzo Mourning's bayfront estate. During the hour and a half President Obama was at Alonzo's home for this big-money, Democratic Party fundraiser, LGBT activists confronted him by land, sea and air, demanding he finally show some leadership and stop the discharges of openly gay and lesbian servicemembers by signing an executive order.
Firedoglake, AmericaBlog and Pam's House Blend covered the protest as it was happening.
The protest also caught the attention of the Associated Press (that's where the picture above is from) and the Miami Herald, and their stories are after the jump. This type of mainstream media coverage is key to movement forward, if any is possible, in my opinion.
CBS has weighed in with a full story on the protests, entitled "Gay Rights Activists Protest Obama Fundraiser, Lash Out at White House." The Hill, a well-regarded Capitol newsmagazine, also mentioned the protest. See comments section for links.
The Associated Press included pictures of the protest, and said:
Protesters of the military's ban on gay service members stood outside the entrance to the gated community where Obama spoke, holding banners that read "Stop the Discharges Now." Other activists protesting the "don't ask, don't tell" policy boarded a boat within view of the waterfront property, blowing airhorns during the president's fundraising remarks.
While Obama has repeatedly said he opposes "don't ask, don't tell", some activists say he hasn't done enough to repeal the law.
Here's the caption on the AP photo:
Larry Whitt, who left the Navy after serving 12 years because he is gay, joins other protesters and supporters who watched President Obama arrive in Coral Gables, Fla. Monday, Oct. 11, 2010. Whitt was there to protest the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Three weeks from Election Day, President Barack Obama tries to buoy Democratic candidates, traveling to four states in seven days, including a stop in South Florida. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
The Miami Herald included a bold headline, "Protest," in its article, and connected it with GetEqual's previous protest of the President.
A group of about 20 activists pushing for a quicker end to the military's ``Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'' policy protested the event aboard boats in Biscayne Bay. They could be heard at the tents on Mourning's lawn, but the noise wasn't enough to disrupt the fundraiser. Hecklers at a New York fundraiser in September forced Obama to go off-script several times to defend his record.
I'd like to see more of this mainstream coverage. Coverage in the gay press is nice, but it's preaching to the choir.
Kudos to GetEqual for planning and executing a fairly complex tactical maneuver. I say "more!"
Disclosure: I am on the provisional Board of Directors of GetEqual.