First lady Michelle Obama experienced a rare face-to-face encounter with a protester late Tuesday – approaching the activist and threatening to leave a fundraiser if the person did not stop interrupting her speech.
Obama was addressing a Democratic Party fundraiser in a private Kalorama home in Northwest Washington when Ellen Sturtz, 56, a lesbian activist [with GetEQUAL], interrupted her remarks to demand that President Obama sign an anti-discrimination executive order.
Obama showed her displeasure – pausing to confront Sturtz eye to eye, according to witnesses.
“One of the things that I don’t do well is this,” she said to applause from most of the guests, according to a White House transcript. “Do you understand?”
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GetEQUAL statement today
GetEQUAL said today that four of its organizers -- Ellen Sturtz of Washington, D.C.; Autumn Leaf of Ohio; Wooten Gough of North Carolina; and Amy Vesper of New Mexico -- interrupted the first lady at a private fundraiser, calling for President Obama to take action and leadership to end workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans.
The four organizers issued the following statement:
"LGBT people in North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio and all over the country are dehumanized in our jobs, and we are forced into the closet in order to participate in the American dream. We value the First Lady's leadership and invite her to lead the charge within the Democratic Party to end employment discrimination. President Obama has an executive order sitting on his desk that can protect a quarter of the labor force in the U.S. from workplace discrimination, we will continue engaging leaders in the Administration and the Democratic Party until President Obama fulfills a promise to our community made five years ago."