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21 Gay Riders Detained At West Point Protest

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21 Gay Riders Detained At West Point Protest

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

April 26, 2006 - 3:00 pm ET

(West Point, New York) Twenty-one members of the Equality Ride were detained by authorities Wednesday after they entered the grounds of West Point to protest "don't ask, don't tell" the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

The protestors were issued tickets for trespassing and disorderly conduct and later released. Thirty-five Equality Riders are on a 51 day cross-country trip organized by the nondenominational Soulforce to draw attention to schools that bar gay enrolment.

"I felt it was definitely something I should be doing," protester Chad Brady, 20, of Mount Pleasant, Mich. said after he was released. "To see government-sanctioned discrimination, it really bothers me."

At West Point the riders were joined by another 20 supporters.

West Point warned the riders prior to their arrival that hey risked arrest if they tried to enter the grounds and demonstrate. The group refused to agree to restrictions banning the carrying signs, handing out literature or making formal presentations.

"We mainly just want to discuss the policy with cadets," Soulforce spokesperson Richard Lindsay.

Following the detention of the 21, members of the group put black tape over their mouths and held a silent vigil outside the grounds of the school.

Earlier this month ten riders were arrested on the grounds of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. (story)

Since it was enacted just over a decade a go nearly 10,000 members of the military have been discharged for being gay.

The Equality Ride began last month in Washington D.C. Riders also have been arrested at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah; (story) Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma (story); Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia (story) which is affiliated with Christian Broadcaster Pat Robertson; and at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. (story)

©365Gay.com 2006

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