Michelle Obama Confronts Gay Rights Heckler at Fundraiser

Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama was involved in a heated confrontation Tuesday evening with a gay rights heckler at a fundraiser event.

First lady Michelle Obama was involved in a heated confrontation Tuesday evening with a gay rights heckler at a fundraiser event.

Though the incident was not recorded in the official transcript of the event, a pool report from a reporter who attended the event describes what happened.

Obama was about 12 minutes into her 20-minute speech at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Washington when she was first interrupted, according to the report. The heckler, later identified as Ellen Sturtz, is an activist for the pro-LGBT rights group Get Equal.

“One of the things I don't do well is this,” the first lady said to applause. The report says she then left the lectern and moved toward the protester, saying, “Listen to me, or you can take the mic, but I’m leaving. You all decide. You have one choice.”

The crowd shouted they wanted her to say, and Sturtz was escorted out. According to the New York Times, the protester was “shouting for President Obama to issue an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”

As Sturtz was escorted out, the Times says, she continued shouting, “at one point identifying herself as a ‘lesbian looking for federal equality before I die.’”

Obama then continued her speech, saying, “So let me make the point that I was making before,” and picked up where she had left off.

Democratic Party officials said tickets for the event ranged from $500 to $10,000. Sturtz told The Washington Post she paid $500 to attend the fundraiser, which also had three other Get Equal activists in attendance.

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