A fascinating melodrama unfolded this afternoon in Washington, D.C., when a protest that was carefully staged by gay lobby group the Human Rights Campaign and reality star Kathy Griffin was derailed by more vocal protesters who wanted to take the event to another level of civil disobedience. Lieutenant Dan Choi, an openly gay suspended serviceman who is perhaps the most vocal opponent of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” on the airwaves these days, led the unannounced interruption. Towleroad.com has been following the confusing chain of events all day (for the full story you should click over there for more detail from all sides). Asking to be allowed to join the speakers list at the civil demonstration, Choi was turned down by organizers from HRC. But Griffin, whose television cameras were videotaping the affair for her show, My Life on the D-List, brought him onstage with her.
From behind the mike, Choi surprised organizers even further by angrily exhorting the crowd to follow him in a march on the White House. Apparently, many protesters followed, but not Griffin or any leaders from HRC. This lack of action has been pounced on by more than one longtime critic of the lobbying group, which takes heat from other gay groups for raising money through lavish dinners and tough talk about action, but taking little or no actual action.
Choi, who has yet to be discharged from the Army, was accompanied by Captain Jim Pietrangelo, who was discharged dishonorably for being gay in 2004. Upon reaching the White House, the pair chained themselves to the fence there, quickly drawing police and Secret Service. After some confusion and a lot of chanting, the two, along with another female protester, were arrested and taken away by police. “It was my honor 2 share th podium with Lt.Dan Choi today!” Griffin tweeted later. “I understand he’s been arrested in front of the White House. I dig that dude! Balls!”