Nearly a hundred protesters assembled Wednesday outside the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, CA where President Obama hosted a Democratic Party fundraiser.
Protest organizers called for Obama to repeal the government's "don't ask, don't tell" policy that exempts openly gay men and women from serving in the military.
Lt. Dan Choi, a West Point graduate and an Arabic translator, was discharged from the Army when he declared he was gay on national television. His conviction that the military's policy is "a deadly poison" inspired him to lead the protest on Wednesday.
"There is a message that I want to give to Obama," said Choi. "Stop forcing our soldiers to hide. Let them be free to serve."
Undeterred by Tuesday's decision by the California Supreme Court to uphold the ban on gay marriage passed by voters in November, Choi said to the crowd, "We can't wait for somebody else to give us rights.... if we want rights, we have to fight for it. We have to earn it." Choi ended his speech the same way it began, chanting, "Love is worth it."
Pro-peace and anti-torture protesters took part in the demonstration as well.