Capitol Police on Tuesday arrested 133 LGBT activists outside the U.S. Supreme Court.
The activists who were affiliated Housing Works and other organizations sat in First Street, N.E., in an act of civil disobedience after the justices heard oral arguments in three LGBT rights cases. Capitol Police said the activists were arrested “for unlawfully demonstrating at First and East Capitol Streets, N.E.” and “charged with D.C. Code §22-1307, Crowding, Obstructing, or Incommoding.”
“We already live in a world where people who don’t fit societal conventions of gender expression are subject to stigma, discrimination, verbal and physical abuse, and even being killed for who they are,” said Housing Works CEO Charles King in a press release that Housing Works issued earlier this week. “This is compounded for our transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming brothers, sisters and siblings. We are mobilizing this action because we are deeply concerned and angered that the gates could be opened to losing rights and protections in the workplace, in education, healthcare, the military and beyond.”
Capitol Police and the U.S. Supreme Court Police at around 8 a.m. closed the streets around the Supreme Court in response to a suspicious package.
The Supreme Court remained open during the closures, but they delayed an LGBT rights rally that was to have begun at 8:30 a.m. The rally began shortly after 10 a.m. once the streets reopened.
Freedom for All Americans CEO Masen Davis told the Washington Blade outside the Supreme Court the oral arguments in the three cases “is one of the biggest days in my lifetime and career.”
“[The cases] will really determine to what extent we are protected under the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Title VII,” said Davis. “The court, if it does the right thing, should be affirming those rights.”