After her Thursday arrest, gay activist Robin McGehee is calling on activists to apply greater pressure – most likely including greater civil disobedience – on lawmakers to pass two major gay rights bills that appear to be stalling out in Congress.

McGehee was the first activist to be arrested Thursday afternoon outside the White House during a rally to protest “don't ask, don't tell,” the 1993 law that bans gay troops from serving openly.

Also arrested were Army Lt. Dan Choi, one of the most visible opponents of the policy, and Capt. James E. Pietrangelo. The men were arrested by Park Police after McGehee helped the pair handcuff themselves to the White House fence.

All three activists broke away from an earlier protest hosted by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest gay rights advocate, that featured comedian Kathy Griffin and HRC President Joe Solmonese, and led a crowd from Freedom Plaza to the White House chanting “Hey, hey, ho, ho don't ask, don't tell has got to go.”

Choi, who said he wanted to deliver a message to President Obama, told the crowd “We will not disappear” before McGehee helped him handcuff himself to the fence.

Both men have been discharged under “don't ask, don't tell.” Pietrangelo was dismissed under the policy in 2004, while Choi is fighting his 2009 discharge.

Choi, 29, and Pietrangelo, 44, appeared Friday in DC's Superior Court, where each pleaded not guilty to the charge of failing to obey an officer. The men are scheduled to return to court on April 26.

In a video message released Friday, McGehee said the action took place because “we are tired of waiting.”

“We're tired of empty promises and continued excuses and we really want action,” she said.

McGehee said activists need to do more than lobby lawmakers for passage of Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank's Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that would outlaw workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, and repeal of the military's gay ban.

“We believe we need to do more than lobbying, making phone calls, and giving money to people who are not making true to the promises we were given,” she added.

McGehee first came to national attention in 2008 after she organized a successful pro-gay marriage rally in conservative Fresno, California. She continues her gay advocacy with the group GetEqual.