By Tracy Correa / The Fresno Bee
Fresno gay-rights activist Robin McGehee is going back to the White House -- but this time as an invited guest.
McGehee was invited to watch President Barack Obama today sign a bill repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that prevents gays from serving openly in the military.
She received the invitation Monday and was on a plane Tuesday morning, said GetEQUAL spokesman Brad Luna. GetEQUAL is a gay-rights organization co-founded by McGehee.
In a brief telephone interview, McGehee said the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" is on par with the integration of blacks and whites in the military in the late 1940s. And she called it a watershed moment in moving toward marriage rights for gays and lesbians. She added: "Being in that space [on Wednesday] is going to be hugely humbling."
McGehee wrote on her Facebook page Tuesday that she was taking her young son Sebastian along to witness the historic signing.
"I am only going to the DADT repeal signing to show Sebastian that standing up for what you believe in matters. The time I was away from him and his sister will hopefully lead to a more equal world," she wrote on Facebook.
McGehee has been involved in numerous gay-rights causes and helped organize "Meet in the Middle for Equality" in Fresno.
The statewide rally to protest the passage of Prop. 8 -- California's ban on same-sex marriage -- was held in May 2009 and drew thousands, including celebrities.
She also helped organize the National Equality March in October 2009 in Washington, D.C. The march led her to co-found GetEQUAL with Kip Williams in March.
She has been a vocal supporter of ending the 17-year-old policy that bars uncloseted gays from serving in the military.
McGehee and Lt. Dan Choi were arrested after they chained themselves to the White House fence to protest the ban. Choi also is expected to attend the signing.
The White House invited a number of people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, including those who served in the military under the policy as well as those who advocated for its repeal, Luna said.
Friends of McGehee's wrote of their pride at having her attend the signing and credited her with keeping up the pressure for repeal of the policy.
"Tomorrow when you stand at the White House with President Obama, you are representing all of us," read one of the posts.
The bill signing is expected to take place about 9:15 a.m. Eastern time (6:15 a.m. PST) today
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