Activist Heckles Michelle Obama on Gay Discrimination at DNC Event
By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com June 05 2013 11:02 AM ET
Michelle Obama was heckled by an LGBT activist at a fund-raiser for the Democratic Party Tuesday, only to confront the heckler in return.
Activist Ellen Sturtz confronted both First lady Obama and Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz regarding an executive order that President Barack Obama could sign that would ban antigay discrimination by any company that contracts work from the federal government. According to GetEqual, the organization with which Sturtz is affiliated, this executive order could protect 22% of the American workforce from antigay discrimination at work.
"One of the things that I don't do well is this," Obama said to a mix of applause and bewilderment at the event. Obama then left the podium and approached Sturtz. According to the pool report, Obama said, "Listen to me or you can take the mike, but I’m leaving. You all decide. You have one choice."
The audience generally asked Obama to stay, and Sturtz, who paid $500 to enter the event, was asked to leave and then escorted out, according to The Washington Post. As she was leaving, MSNBC reports, Sturtz was shouting that she was a "lesbian looking for federal equality before I die."
Sturtz later said she would have gladly taken the microphone to explain that she wanted the pesident to sign the executive order.
Later, Sturtz said in a statement that she had lived and worked in the closet in order to avoid being discriminated against or fired.
"I had planned to speak tonight with DNC officials but, as the first lady was talking about our children's future and ensuring that they have everything they need to live happy and productive lives, I simply couldn't stay silent any longer," Sturtz said. "I'm looking ahead at a generation of young people who could live full, honest, and open lives with the stroke of the president's pen, and I was hoping that the first lady would share my concern for all of our young people."