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'DADT' Activist Lt. Dan Choi Arrested at Protest Kathy Griffin Blew Off

'DADT' Activist Lt. Dan Choi Arrested at Protest Kathy Griffin Blew Off

After a Human Rights Campaign rally for the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, in Washington DC on Thursday, Lt. Dan Choi led a group of protesters to the White House. He joined former Army infantryman James Pietrangelo, and they proceeded to handcuff themselves to the front gates. Kathy Griffin, who was at the HRC rally, failed to show up at the White House.

'Don't ask, don't tell' activist Lt. Dan Choi was arrested for handcuffing himself to the White House fence during a protest calling to end the discriminatory policy, an event that My Life on the D List star Kathy Griffin failed to attend after she'd promised Choi she would. Choi was arrested along with former Army infrantryman James Pietrangelo and one other person after a group of protestors marched to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

The Secret Service and DC police were on the scene, and a white van marked "police" has now taken Choi and Pietrangelo from the scene.

McGeHee and Choi were among those who helped organize the National Equality March in October of 2009 and are now with the group GetEQUAL. Choi is the founder of Knights Out, a West Point alumni organization supporting LGBT soldiers.

Police blocked the White House gates with yellow tape, and pushed back protesters chanting DADT repeal slogans and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Advocate.com reported that "Choi was speaking at the HRC rally at Freedom Plaza when he asked the group's executive director, Joe Solmonese, if he would march to the White House." Pietrangelo was discharged from the military under DADT, however Choi's discharge is pending.

"You've been told that the White House has a plan," Choi told rally protesters. "But we learned this week that the president is still not fully committed. ... Following this rally, I will be leading [the protest] to the White House to say 'enough talk.' ... I am still standing, I am still fighting, I am still speaking out, and I am still gay."

Griffin, who was in Washington at the behest of HRC to meet with members of Congress about DADT repeal, was also at the rally. Choi asked Griffin if she would march with him to the White House, and she responded "Of course!"

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However, neither Griffin nor Solmonese were seen at the White House protest.

AMERICAblog commented, "Oddly, the rally is not on Capitol Hill or in front of the White House. It's at Freedom Plaza, which is across from D.C. City Hall. (The reality is that is basically the setting for an episode of Griffin's reality tv show.)"

Robin McGehee was arrested after helping the two soldiers handcuff themselves to the fence. An officer who arrested McGehee said "I can't say anything" on why she was taken into custody. It has since been discovered that she was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct.

Activists present at the protest, as well as other members of supportive LGBT activist groups and organizations were tweeting updates and photos of what was going on at the White House. 

Here are some of the updates from the GetEqual and National Equality March pages:

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"Michelangelo Signorile From the scene: I'm told @kathygriffin said she'd go to White House with Dan Choi when he asked in speech, but then she blew him off."

{C}{C}

"Michelangelo Signorile RT @JoeSudbay And no sign of @kathygriffin. She got her episode. She used HRC as a set."

"ROBIN IS ARRESTED. DAN STILL CHAINED TO FENCE. JOE SOLMONESE STAYS BEHIND FOR PHOTO OP WITH KATHY GRIFFIN."

"The Secret Service and DC police are on the scene this afternoon as Lt. Dan Choi (above) and others are chaining themselves to the White House's fence to protest Obama's inaction on DADT.#DADT."

For more information on Kathy Griffin and her role with HRC and repealing DADT, check out this AMERICAblog post: Dear Kathy Griffin: Please lobby the President on DADT

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Boo Jarchow