Today, five activists from GetEQUAL Ohio, a direct action LGBT rights group associated with the national organization, GetEQUAL, were arrested while attempting to deliver a petition to Speaker of the House John Boehner at his office in Columbus.
The petition, which urged the Speaker to focus on job creation rather than using tax payer money to defend the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), contained over 33,000 signatures.
Upon arriving at the office, the group was locked out and denied their First Amendment right to petition the government. Not to be deterred in their representation of those who should be treated equally under the law, five members of GetEQUAL OH began reading the names of the petition signers in front of the office while others participated in a demonstration on the sidewalks. Shortly thereafter, they were arrested for “trespassing” and removed from the premises.
Speaker Boehner sent a clear message with these arrests: the U.S. Constitution has no value to him, his office or our government. It is undeniable that citizens of the United States have a right to petition their government. Such right falls squarely within the First Amendment and is a fundamental right enjoyed by all Americans. The right can be simply defined as “the right to present requests to the government without punishment or reprisal. This right is guaranteed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution” (History Central, 1).
If Speaker Boehner is willing to violate the rights afforded within the “Bill of Rights” there is no reason he will not continue to deny the rights provided by the 14th Amendment, which is the portion of the Constitution that deems DOMA unconstitutional.
Call, write, email or visit (at your own risk) Boehner’s office and demand an immediate apology for continually violating the rights of Americans. Tell him to focus on creating jobs as the Republicans promised instead of using tax payer money to defend unconstitutional government policies.
Those arrested include: Sean Watkins, Morgan Bonney, Jesse Bonney, Liz Mills and Karay Miller (pictured).