Michelle Obama Speech Interrupted By Gay Rights Heckler
Last night, at a private Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Washington, a protester started heckling First Lady Michelle Obama — which lead to the First Lady threatening to leave the stage. The heckler, who was later identified as Ellen Sturtz of the gay rights organization GetEQUAL, shouted at Obama about the president’s record on ending discrimination against people on the basis of their sexual orientation.
As the First Lady spoke during her speech, 56-year-old Sturtz began shouting at her about the need for an executive order to forbid discrimination by federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. (Obama has shown no interest in signing such an order.)
“One of the things I don’t do well is this,” MObama replied. According to the Huffington Post, she then left the lecturn and approached Sturtz. She told her Sturtz could “listen to me, or you can take the mic, but I’m leaving. You all decide. You have one choice.” The audience then began shouting that they wanted the First Lady to stay; an attendee told ABC News that she appeared “clearly not happy” by the heckling. The Post claimed Sturtz was escorted out whilst yelling she wanted “federal equality before I die,” but ABC News said she was permitted to stay.
According to the Post, several activists from GetEQUAL attended the private donor event with $100 student/young professional tickets. Another GetEQUAL activist had interrupted a speech by DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz beforehand, heckling about the same issue.
Call me old-fashioned, but I think heckling someone during a speech — no matter what your cause — is hella rude. It’s rude when Republican Congressmen do it and it’s rude when “old, grey-haired” lesbians like Sturtz do it. I completely agree with the context of her argument,but she and GetEQUAL should be ashamed with this behavior. This is not the only way to hold politicians accountable or draw attention to your cause.
[I disagree with Jessica. That happens sometimes! Yes, it’s rude, but Emily Post doesn’t really belong in various forms of protest and civil disobedience. — Amelia]