WASHINGTON — First Lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday threatened to walk out on a private Democratic fundraiser after a lesbian activist repeatedly interrupted her speech to demand that President Obama sign an executive order to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Ellen Sturtz, 56, a member of GetEqual — a group that advocates for LGBT equality through confrontational direct action — was escorted out of the event, which was being held at a private residence in northwest Washington.
According to the White House, Mrs. Obama “left the lectern” and confronted Sturtz, telling her, “One of the things that I don’t do well is this,” she said to applause from most of the guests. “Do you understand?”
The pool press report quoted Mrs. Obama as saying, “Listen to me or you can take the mic, but I’m leaving. You all decide. You have one choice.”
The White House told LGBTQ Nation that after the First Lady threatened to leave, the audience asked her to remain and Sturtz was instead escorted out of the room.
Sturtz told The Washington Post that she was stunned by Mrs. Obama’s response.
Article continues below“She came right down in my face,” Sturtz said. “I was taken aback.”
Sturtz said she paid $500 to attend the fundraiser as part of a scheme by GetEqual to gain the President’s attention.
GetEqual first came to nation attention in Obama’s first term for heckling him during speeches, demanding more action on LGBT issues and orchestrating demonstrations against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
The Obama administration has come under increased scrutiny by LGBTQ equality rights activists particularly in regard to the proposed executive order which would prohibit federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Efforts to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in the U.S. Congress have repeatedly failed since 1994, prompting LGBT activist to pin their hopes on the Obama administration to issue an executive order instead.