Main | Thursday, March 18, 2010

The HRC Wants You To Know Their Side

Concerned about the "Lt. Dan Choi Kanye'd the HRC" story being reported on some blogs (including this one), the HRC has posted the following elaboration of their earlier comment.
Singer Tom Goss kicked off the event followed by the first American wounded in the Iraq war, retired Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva. Also speaking were Ben Mishkin of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and Alex Nicholson of Servicemembers United. Finally, Kathy Griffin took to the stage, talking about her experiences this week in Washington, welcoming Lt. Dan Choi to the stage to make a few remarks and then calling for a moment of silence to honor our troops who serve in silence.

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.
So basically, it appears that it was Kathy Griffin who made the call to override Joe Solmonese and bring Choi to the podium. Good for her. I have to wonder why a DADT protest in the nation's capital wouldn't have included the nation's most famous and well-spoken gay veteran in the first place. (Not to disparage Sgt. Eric Alva in the least, whom I think is fantastic.)

UPDATE: John Aravosis at AmericaBlog says the HRC statement is "utterly 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.
UPDATE II: It looks like Choi and Capt. Jim Pietrangelo will be spending the night in jail.

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