by Michael Rogers
After waiting outside overnight to be among the first to enter this year's White House Easter Egg Roll, families in line were surprised to learn that the White House had changed the ticketing policy for the annual event, PageOneQ has learned.
The unannounced change means that the families who waited in line the longest, in one case for twenty-four hours, will not be among the visitors at the event's opening ceremonies. The first families in line, who were not part of the LGBT family group, received tickets with an 11:00am entrance time, two hours later than the opening time listed in the White House press release.
Various media reports have publicized participation of lesbian and gay families, including a piece in the New York Times, which ran on April 10th, and media representatives were interviewing families in the line about the small swirl of controversy created by the decision of LGBT families to participate in the annual event. This morning, cameras from approximately half a dozen television stations, including CNN, were on the Ellipse, interviewing families about the decision of LGBT parents to participate.
In a telephone call and email exchange with PageOneQ earlier today, Deputy White House Dana Perino, the Deputy White House Press Secretary told PageOneQ that, "[T]he number of tickets are the same as every year, and that the large group we invited this year is youth volunteers ... and they are coming in the morning. We invite a group like that every year, for instance one or two years ago it was military families. In order to accomodate [sic] all of the people who want to come to the easter egg roll, we stagger the times to ensure maximum enjoyment for everyone."
One ticket recipient who was approximately fifty people behind the Family Pride Coalition, told PageOneQ that he was "upset, very upset, that they would change the policy to make those of us who spent the night be the last ones to get into the event." When asked his name, the man said that, "Because my brother works for the State Department, I'd rather keep my name out of the article."