Lesbian Activist Escorted From Fundraiser During First Lady’s Speech
Michelle Obama confronted a lesbian activist and threatened to leave a Democratic fundraiser after the activist interrupted her speech.
According to LGBTQ Nation, Ellen Sturtz, 56, is a member of GetEqual, a group that “advocates for LGBT equality through confrontational direct action.” Sturtz interjected the First Lady’s speech to demand President Obama sign an executive order to “prohibit discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
The First Lady paused during her speech to address Sturtz’s intrusion.
“One of the things that I don’t do well is this,” said Obama to the applause of the audience, according to a White House transcript. “Do you understand?”
Obama then left the lectern and approached Sturtz, according to a reporter’s pool report. “Listen to me or you can take the mic, but I’m leaving. You all decide. You have one choice,” said Obama in the report.
The White House transcript did not record Obama’s statement to leave, but the White House told LGBTQ Nation that the audience “asked her to remain and Sturtz was instead escorted out of the room.”
Sturtz told the Washington Post that she was surprised by Obama’s reaction.
“She came right down in my face,” said Sturtz. “I was taken aback.”
In an interview with the Washington Post, Sturtz said that she was “happy to take the microphone to plead her case” and her comment “[flustered] the first lady”.
“Her husband could sign this order tonight and protect 22 percent of the work force in this country,” said Sturtz.
LGBTQ Nation says that Sturtz paid $500 to attend the fundraiser as a part of a GetEqual plan to get recognition by the President. GetEqual gained attention during Obama’s first term by “heckling him during speeches, demanding more action on LGBT issues and orchestrating demonstrations against “‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’”.
Sturtz gave $5,000 to the Democratic Party and Obama’s 2008 campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. She told the Washington Post that she is now devoting herself to “full-time activism” and “pressing the White House on the employment discrimination issue”.
Gay rights groups have been pressuring the Obama administration to sign an order to protect people from discrimination since Obama expressed his support for same-sex marriage rights during 2012′s campaign for reelection.
White House officials told the Washington Post that they back legislation to “prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity” but the officials “have declined to say whether the executive order is pending”.
Maya Earls and is a second-year journalism student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She was born in Los Angeles, and moved to Richmond in 2000. Her first journalism experience was managing social media for the Rock4Life benefit concert.She enjoys exploring Richmond on her bike and finding good views of the river. Her favorite past-time is watching people dance in their cars from her apartment window.
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