President Obama got heckled by protesters last night, and top gay-rights activists in California say they don't mind it.
Obama was taunted by protesters from the gay-rights group GetEQUAL during a fundraiser for Sen. Barbara Boxer in Los Angeles (video here). A protester yelled that Obama should repeal the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, and a back-and-forth over DADT ensued.
Two of California's top gay-rights leaders said the heckling was by no means out of line.
"I think getting heckled is nothing compared to getting kicked out of the military and losing your job and getting fired simply because you're gay, because there's no federal protection, or getting denied Social Security benefits because the administration has made no effort to repeal DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act] and has actually defended it in court," said Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors. Kors said he didn't know the protest was going to take place.
"I think people are getting very, very frustrated that we have a president who promised to be a fierce advocate and the most pro-LGBT Senate and Congress int he history of the country, and Don't Ask, Don't Tell hasn't been repealed and DOMA is still the law of the land," Kors said.
Along with the Courage Campaign, Equality California has been one of the most prominent gay-rights advocacy groups in California since the Proposition 8 campaign in 2008.
Courage Campaign founder and chair Rick Jacobs shared much of Kors's sentiment, but pointed to other politicians he thought gay-rights advocates should also target.
"I think that nonviolent civil disobedience is a legitimate weapon in the arsenal of social change, and I think it definitely has its place," Jacobs said. "I think that some serious attention needs to be paid to people like [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell and folks who are just making this impossible. I also think that some serious attention needs to be paid to Blue Dogs, so I think it's more than legitimate to push the president, he's asked to be pushed...but the other side of this is we have got to communicate with, in a meaningful way, Americans who are fair minded and may not understand what equality's all about."