Several minutes after Obama took the stage, several activists from the group GetEQUAL began shouting and expressing anger about the slow pace of progress on repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
"What about ‘don't ask, don't tell?’" yelled one protester, as the crowd tried to hush them.
“We are going to do that,” Obama responded and kept talking, upping his volume, but the protesters persevered. The crowd finally erupted into chants of “Yes, we can," in order to silence the activists.
Obama reiterated, “We are going to repeal ‘don't ask, don't tell.’”
Another protester yelled, "It's time for equality for all Americans!"
Obama responded, "Can I just say again, Barbara and I are supportive of repealing ‘don't ask, don’t tell.’" But the protester continued, grinding Obama's remarks to a halt and again prompting the crowd to shout, “Yes, we can!" over the protesters.
The action continued for a little over 10 minutes before the activists were escorted out of the reception by security officers and Obama regained control of the speech.
The protesters included David John Fleck, Dan Fotou, Laura Kanter, Zoe Nicholson, and Michelle Wright, according to press release from GetEQUAL.
“President Obama has been AWOL on DADT,” Fotou said in a statement from the group. “We had to remind him of the promises he made to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community during his campaign and several times during his presidency - that DADT will be repealed because, as he's stated, ‘It's the right thing to do.’”
“We made it clear our community will hold accountable our president for unkept promises,” said Wright in the same statement. “Denying LGBT service members and personnel the ability to serve their country is unfair.”
GetEQUAL also organized the protest last month when Lt. Dan Choi was arrested after handcuffing himself to the White House gates.
AARP Pride Information and Resources for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender People, Families and Allies - AARP