Gay Activists Arrested during Times Square Protest

Thursday March 15, 2007

Two gay activist leaders were arrested during a demonstration March 15 at the Times Square military recruiting station in New York City to protest the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.

The arrests of Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, leader of New York's Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, came after they sat in the middle of Broadway and blocked traffic outside the recruiting station.

An estimated 250 protestors held the demonstration to urge repeal of the ban on gays serving openly in the military and to demand the firing of Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for calling homosexuality immoral earlier in the week.

Members of ACT UP, Queer Justice League and others held an enormous rainbow flag that stretched around the crowd, while additional demonstrators spoke in front of an enormous English- and Arabic-language banner that said "We Will Not Be Silent."

During the protest, Foreman, Kleinbaum and longtime movement leader Larry Kramer repeatedly knocked on the door of the recruiting station, but the doors remained closed. Next, Foreman and Kleinbaum stretched the rainbow banner across Broadway. When police confiscated the banner, Foreman and Kleinbaum sat in the street and were promptly arrested.