Gay protesters shout down Michelle Obama at private event over ENDA

First Lady Michelle Obama was interrupted by gay rights protesters during a private event at a home in Washington, DC.

The protesters were demanding that the President issue an executive order banning job discrimination by federal contracts against gay and trans people. In essence, enacting the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) as an executive order for federal contractors. (ENDA itself would make it a violation of federal law to discriminate in employment against gay and trans people.)

The White House press pool report has the details (in this case, written by HuffPo’s own Amanda Terkel:

Pool was ushered in as FLOTUS began speaking at 6:07 under a white tent in the backyard of the residence of Karen Dixon and Nan Schaffer in NW DC. FLOTUS was introduced by Dixon. Debbie Wasserman Schultz also in attendance.

Michelle-Obama-largeFLOTUS was wearing a dark blue sleeveless shirt dress, with a black belt and pumps.

Please check quotes with official transcript.

Most notable part of the event was an interruption from a protester about 12 minutes into the 20-minute speech. A pro-LGBT rights individual standing at the front began shouting for an executive order on gay rights. (Pool did not hear exactly what.)

“One of the things I don’t do well is this,” replied FLOTUS to loud applause. She left the lectern and moved over to the protester, saying they could “listen to me or you can take the mic, but I’m leaving. You all decide. You have one choice.”

Crowd started shouting that they wanted FLOTUS to stay.

“You need to go!” said one woman near the protester.

The protester was then escorted out, shouting “…lesbian looking for federal equality before I die.” (First part of the quote was inaudible.) Pool could not get their name before they were taken out.

Heather Cronk, co-director of the pro-LGBT rights group GetEQUAL, contacted the pool and identified the protester as one of their activists, Ellen Sturtz.

Sturtz was calling for an executive order to bar discrimination by federal contractors based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Cronk said there were three other GetEQUAL activists at the event as well — two of them are college students. They are from OH, NC, and NM.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • BloggerDave

    Nothing worse than a misguided loud-mouthed lesbian…

  • ronbo

    Yes, arrest Mrs. Obama. She didn’t give her the mic as promised. Arrest her ass now! A promise IS a promise.

  • ronbo

    That’s gotta be Midwestern humor

  • ronbo

    ACT UP changed the world for the better. Even when HRC was demanding that they slip quietly back into the closet. More acting-up and less closet time will do our society justice.

  • ronbo

    Half true. He can’t control private contractors. He can enforce ENDA via executive order with contractors that wish do business with the federal government . Google is too accessible to put up with your nonsense. “executive order, ENDA” 160,000 results.

    Remember when he said “Go out and make me do it.” Here is someone using their limited influence to influence those who can make him do the right thing.

  • dcinsider

    I’d reply but I don’t understand the comment. Can you clarify? And I did not prep at Groton or Exeter.

  • Very few understand this is what protests are for.

  • Wilson Huhn

    The President does not have the authority under the Constitution to issue an executive order prohibiting private contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. Under the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court in Youngstown Sheet & Tube, the President executes the policies enacted into law by Congress — he does not have the power to make those policies. Only Congress has the power under the Constitution to end discrimination by private parties. If the President could adopt this policy on his own I would urge him to do so, but he does not. The doctrine of Separation of Powers is also part of the Constitution, and must be obeyed. As a fervent ally of the gay rights movement, ENDA and marriage equality have my full support, and I share your frustration that it has taken so long to make those policies into law. But I and many others find this type of protest — aimed at friends and allies — very disheartening. I can assure you that it gives heart to bigots and discourages your friends. It is extremely counterproductive.

  • JamesR

    I’m thinking “our girl” could handle jackbooting a lot more handily than imperious diffidence, or your snarky patronization.

  • JamesR

    LOL so true. Sadly.

  • JamesR

    Never read Lysistrata at your home school?

  • JamesR

    Really huge manual LIKE.

    And to those who took a second or two to click dislike to this comment, to this classic video, they need to take a few more seconds out of their lives to listen to the song and to Gil Scott-Heron and they might, just might, learn a thing or two. THANKS Indigo.

  • JamesR

    Yeah Laura Bush would have blown a stop sign and T-boned her to death. I feel so fortunate as a citizen.

    Who are you and why are you commenting here?

  • JamesR

    She said she’d take her marbles and go home and never addressed the real issue. Heckofajob.

    Plenty of tulips and daffodils she could plant if she can’t deal with the public, the real public, who aren’t the public she deigns to associate with.

  • JamesR

    Ezactly.

  • JamesR

    Though some Democrats® could possibly say they never “promised” to vote a specific way at a specific time or do the right thing, some did say they would, and most pretended to be decent people. [Obama, and his family.] Apparently it’s mostly pretend. And they all want to continue pretending and experience the luxury or not being called out on it.

    I prefer the honest enmity.

  • JamesR

    Nothing can be explained to an Obot :(

  • JamesR

    Le Roi est l’etat, la Reine est l’etat aussi.

    On what planet have you been residing all these years?

    As if you actually were homeschooled, in an ignorant home.

  • Jafafa Hots

    “Reading press coverage of this all over the internet this morning…”

    That there is your evidence. The Obama admin AND the press are ignoring the issue.
    Oh wait, that’s WERE ignoring the issue.

    Not anymore, huh?
    Do yourself a favor – google the phrase “overton window.”

    There has never been a civil rights movement that was received graciously by the pols with an approving press reporting about how wonderful it was and how right the oppressed are.

    If they don’t DISLIKE YOU, you aren’t getting anywhere near the sacred cow of their prejudice, are you?

  • Jafafa Hots

    “I don’ t know if it is true that PRESIDENT Obama promised to issue an
    ENDA executive order early in his first term relating to this, and don’t
    care enough to look it up.”

    So you don’t know about about a civil rights issue, don’t CARE about that civil rights issue, but you are outraged that someone affected by that civil rights issue speaks up about it because their demanding their rights upset your HERO when she was out stumping for cash.

    And of course, “she can’t sign anything” and so is completely powerless and irrelevant, which is why they USE HER FOR FUNDRAISING. Sure.

    I looked at your past comments. As you admitted here, you do not know about the issues being discussed and do not care, you just come here to insult those who DO have a clue.

    Time for you to use your tired line “what, were you homeschooled?” yet again, it seems to be your favorite content-free response.

  • Jafafa Hots

    Name ONE advance in civil rights that was not the result of protest.

    ONE.

  • Jafafa Hots

    I can’t even begin to imagine your thought process.
    I *ALMOST* got arrested. The reason I didn’t was because I HAD A RIGHT TO BE THERE, had a right to protest and say what I did, so the overzealous cop was called off.

    Are you saying I SHOULD have been arrested for protesting Cheney?

    What is it you find so appealing about totalitarianism that you advocate for it here?

  • Help yourself.

  • Dick-wad.

  • FLL

    My comment was not directed at Michelle Obama; it was directed at some commenters further down on this thread who suggested that people should protest the Republicans instead. Even though I disagree with those commenters, you really can’t say that their comments are “off-topic,” and you certainly can’t say that my reply to their comments is “off-topic.” Both their comments and my reply are on-topic because Michelle Obama is appearing at a political fundraiser, which implies an endorsement of the President’s policies.

  • TiredOfThePhonies

    I’m sure Mitt would have done better by you.

  • TiredOfThePhonies

    So she was the heckler screaming during Mrs. Obama’s speech? Frankly, I am getting turned off by the LGBT people.

  • TiredOfThePhonies

    Someone who clearly has no clue. Or who has a comprehension problem.

  • TiredOfThePhonies

    Me thinks the excuse she had for the refusal to sign the executive order was/is that THE FIRST LADY DOES NOT SIGN ORDERS.
    Good God, were you home schooled?

  • TiredOfThePhonies

    I didn’t know that FLOTUS could sign and order. This must have slipped past me.

  • TiredOfThePhonies

    You can always vote for Akin and his sort.

  • TiredOfThePhonies

    Mrs. Obama did not come out look like anything but an intelligent lady with class. I have no problem with what she said or did.
    Somehow everyone has been avoiding answering the question: What in the h#*& was heckling Mrs. Obama supposed to accomplish?

  • TiredOfThePhonies

    “What would help? We seem to be out of other options”.
    Have you tried self-immolation?

  • TiredOfThePhonies

    “This woman who shouted is a lesbian and therefore does not have full and equal citizenship rights”.

    Was heckling the First Lady going to give her her full and equal citizenship rights?
    Just how would that work.

  • TiredOfThePhonies

    So this woman should have been arrested. Period.
    Wonder why she chose this event rather that protest at the White House?

  • TiredOfThePhonies

    Another typical classless ignoramus.

  • TiredOfThePhonies

    “Michelle Obama didn’t help her reputation, either, but that’s a separate matter”.
    Mrs. Obama has taken abuse from ignoramus for the past 6 years and there was nothing wrong with her deciding to speak up to some classless excuse.

  • TiredOfThePhonies

    PRESIDENT “Obama was quite clear that it was our responsibility to hold his feet to the fire, and we need to do that.”

    So, heckling Mrs. Obama will for sure cause PRESIDENT Obama to do what this woman was acting a fool over?

  • TiredOfThePhonies

    I don’ t know if it is true that PRESIDENT Obama promised to issue an ENDA executive order early in his first term relating to this, and don’t care enough to look it up. What does Mrs. Obama have to do with whether PRESIDENT Obama issues any order, Executive or not?

  • TiredOfThePhonies

    What am I missing? Since when did the FLOTUS decides policy? What was the purpose of this heckling other that to make a scene? This woman had better be glad that she wasn’t heckling Laura Bush.

  • Jafafa Hots

    I almost got arrested protesting Dick Cheney’s Iraq War lies back in the early 2000’s – AT A FUND RAISER.

    Is that good enough for you?

    (In case you haven’t noticed, everything politicians appear at these days is a fund raiser… and that’s not because they’re such charitable people. It’s because raising funds is what they DO.)

  • Jafafa Hots

    Dick Cheney appeared at a Republican fund raiser and I almost got arrested protesting him and his lies as the Iraq War was gearing up.

    Was that wrong of me? He was AT A FUND RAISER!!!!

  • Like!

  • “keep her trap shut.” ROTFL, you go Z, you go!

  • She’s joined the exclusive Ann Romney stand by your man club.

  • I read somewhere that Ms. Sturtz lunged for Michelle’s tacky jewelery to discredit her taste in Target couturier

  • GO! very like

  • You got a whole Leota BS going on lady.

  • Exactly Jafafa….. too many of these power ass-kissers have forgotten the democracy many of us have risked our entire lives to defend. The down votes on this subject of the precious Michele demonstrate how many ignorant collaborators buy into the Obama mythology.

  • Obamabot.—I first read that as chamber pot.

  • Exactly dc!

  • Protest is never good form and BTW Obama and his front wife are not on ‘our’ side.

  • Explain that to Obot amnesia. :-)

  • “I will cry like a baby” Please do it in the privacy of your man cave bozo.

  • FLL

    The suggestion to protest the Republicans and coddle the Democrats is illogical because the Republicans could reasonably ask, “Why are you protesting us? We never promised that we would vote with you.” It’s more reasonable to protest someone who went back on their promise.

  • Well, principles may be, but there is absolutely no sign of any significant leadership of any merit coming form this president and his mediocre cadre of compromises.

  • Very Like++++++++

  • True, bobble head snap dive got down, along with the high fallut’n dignity of her office.

  • There fixed it. :-)

  • “It was not a very high bar to begin with. Basically” Got that right.

  • jomicur

    Civil disobedience? What civil disobedience? What the hell are you talking about? Which laws do you think were broken here?

  • Brian

    It is absolutely a valid point that any form of protest can be deemed inappropriate. Civil disobedience is a fundamental tenet of a healthy democracy, as is freedom of speech. But like all freedom of speech, it doesn’t mean our words or actions come without consequences. That Ellen Sturtz was taken aback by the manner in which Michelle addressed her seems to suggest she forgot Michelle has the same freedoms to express her opinions.

    I understand that the president’s wife is by definition a political entity. Additionally, the event in question was a Democratic Party fundraiser which further establishes her role as a political person. However, the perception generally accepted by the population is that the spouse of a politician is less partisan, which is part of the reason spouses traditionally poll with higher favorability than their spouses, regardless of the party. As such, the perception in heckling her lowers the aim of the cause you are trying to espouse. The perception of attacking a bystander isn’t going to change people’s view on your cause, and possibly worsen their view of you as an individual or your organization (going back to the consequences of your freedoms).

    Civil disobedience works best if the person or organization both has the ability to directly change what you are pursuing (her husband can issue an Executive Order, she cannot) and the perception that it is appropriate. Heckle POTUS all you want, but keep his wife out of it.

  • JamesR

    Almost as if the Republicans were in power…

    This meme confirms that. Power is as power does.

    Betrayal, cowardice, inaction and condescending patronizing by a ‘friend’ is much more bitter and meaningful than honest enmity by a stranger. The inescapable conclusion is that they are ALL strangers, not our friends. They’re lucky all they get is the random protester. We need to give them much more discomfort!

  • dcinsider

    I think you are half right. POTUS never made it a priority in his first two years when it should have sailed through Congress. Barney Frank and others promised its passage, even with the trans language, but they never made it a priority. Plenty of blame to go around on that one, and Obama cannot escape his share. If the trans language was indeed a poison pill, they could have dropped that language and passed the bill. (They have no problem dropping gays from immigration, so it would be VERY easy to drop trans from ENDA.)

    So, I agree with you to a point, and I also think the trans language hurt the momentum for ENDA.

  • dcinsider

    Correct.

  • Uh, no.

  • The words “ENDA” and “executive order” are in these news reports, along with the detail that what Ms. Sturtz was shouting was a question to Michelle Obama wanting to know why the President won’t sign the EO.

    That was the purpose of the protest, and that is how our cause was advanced: By getting this issue back into the news cycles again.

    This is how protests work.

  • AlyssaS

    I agree. I think MO came out of this looking bad; not the protester. She was only bringing up the President’s old promises; and now it’s gotten everyone’s attention. Good job.

  • trinu

    I agree with you on those points, but ENDA’s failure isn’t Obama’s fault (though he could sign an exec order and she should pressure him to do so). ENDA failed because activists refused to accept an employment nondiscrimination bill unless it allowed pre-op transexuals to use the locker room of the opposite sex, and they refused any sort of compromise. The lions share of the blame lies with them, not the FLOTUS.

  • jomicur

    Well, let’s be fair. Barry has reneged on so many of his campaign promises, it’s easy to see how this one could get lost in the shuffle. He’s too busy shafting lots of other segments of the electorate–women, environmentalists, students, Social Security recipients, pot smokers–to spend much time on the promises he made to us. As the Obamabots keep reminding us, he has a full plate.

  • jomicur

    I can’t remember a time when gay activists, regardless of the particular issue at hand, didn’t get this exact same criticism. From the earliest days of the gay rights movement, we’ve ALWAYS heard this. “If we push for [fill in whichever measure] it will only create a backlash and make things worse.” And it has always been bullshit. Arguing that we shouldn’t shake up the status quo can lead to nothing but the perpetuation of the status quo.

  • lynchie

    too right

  • FLL

    I’ve noticed a new meme, and a very nasty one at that, which started during the marriage equality vote in the Illinois state legislature: “Why don’t you go and get some Republican votes?” Now I see a variation of the same meme appearing on this thread: “Why don’t you demonstrate in front of Republicans instead?” The simple answer to the question on this thread is that Obama promised to issue and ENDA executive order early in his first term, and the Republicans had nothing to do with that promise. The longer answer is that telling gay people to “go and get some Republican votes or protest in front of Republicans instead of bothering the Democrats” is a really mean, unworthy sentiment, knowing that the Republican Party is homophobia central. It would be nice to see this meme disappear.

  • anonymous

    Anything less then having the GREATEST Gay Man – BRADLEY MANNING – ever in the United States of America on the blog and only Bradley Manning everyday on the blog is a disservice to the country and to all Gay Men. Disgusting!

  • dcinsider

    I just ht the vote down button and it worked, no disrespect intended I just wanted to see.

  • dcinsider

    I fear that the many detractors to this woman’s protest are really upset because she yelled at “one of our own.” There is no question that the Obama Administration has done more for gays and lesbians than any other administration in history. It was not a very high bar to begin with. Basically, if you managed not to publicly sh^t on us, you outdistanced your predecessors by a mile. However, Obama was quite clear that it was our responsibility to hold his feet to the fire, and we need to do that.

    Was the protester rude? Maybe, but protests are by their nature rude. That is the purpose of the protest. Did the protest advance our agenda? Who knows? Did throwing condoms at priests in the 1980’s advance our agenda? Did ACT UP’s protests eventually advance the agenda of AIDS activists?

    I was at a gay fundraising event in 1993, and I sat at a table with then VA Senator Chuck Robb. He looked around the packed room at the clean cut attendees all well dressed and said to me “If my colleagues could see everyone here tonight they would see that gays and lesbians are no different.” Then he said, “I think the ACT UP people harm your cause because they can be very offensive.”

    My response was that “every civil rights movement has a radical fringe, and that radical fringe is necessary and critical to the success of the movement, if for no other reason than to make the others appear reasonable.” MLK Jr. was the reasonable non-violent face of the civil rights while Malcolm X and the Black Panthers scared the crap out of white America. Thus, it was MLK, and his followers, and the NAACP, who could interact with the establishment on the issues that needed to be addressed. However, the Black Panthers played a role in the civil rights movement.

    This is a long winded way of saying that all forms of protest (as long as they are non-violent) likely advance the agenda. And this woman’s outburst, while uncomfortable and rude, was in the long tradition of speaking truth to power, and I for one will not criticize her for engaging on that protest. if it made the First Lady uncomfortable, then so be it. Second class citizenship is uncomfortable.

    I respect and admire Michelle Obama. But she is not encased in glass for us to admire. She is a political person and her presence at a political event opens up the possibility of protest.

  • Trish

    This is pure bias. The ‘vote up’ button works while the ‘vote down’ button doesn’t. What is going on?

  • Dirk Rockwood

    You stupid idiot. She can’t sigh the executive order. She ain’t the president you fucking idiot. Do you like people talking to you like that? You do not add anything to the debate with name calling.

  • Dirk Rockwood

    She did. She got right down in the mud and had it out with the loud mouthed, rude woman.

  • Dirk Rockwood

    Maybe you guys can bring this up at the next gay pride parade. They like to make a lot of noise. All of you people come off as spoiled little kids. It isn’t happening fast enough. They people doing things for us aren’t doing enough for us. I want what I want when I want it, or I will cry like a baby.

  • cc423

    You have no idea how this nation was founded, do you? It was not created by men and women who stood silently by while entitled wives of politicians were allowed to further their own political agenda. NO ONE in this country is above any one else… All men AND women are created equally… including Mrs. Obama. She needs to get off her high horse and deal with reality.

  • Bill_Perdue

    “Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.” Rosa Luxemburg

  • Silence = Death

  • S1AMER

    Reading press coverage of this all over the internet this morning, I have not seen a single piece that indicates the protester advanced our cause one single centimeter. (Michelle Obama didn’t help her reputation, either, but that’s a separate matter.)

    There are very smart ways of protesting and getting good press coverage while putting pressure on politicians. This was not one of those ways.

  • Indigo

    “The Revolution is not a dinner party.” -Chairman Mao
    And what’s more, Be sure to wear a neat, clean, collared polo shirt to the Revolution and don’t shout. Otherwise, the media won’t know you’re being serious. But wait, there’s more because the Revolution will not be televised:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGaRtqrlGy8

  • Zorba

    Then let her stay back at the White House and keep her trap shut. If she is fund raising, she is a legitimate target.
    You know the old saying “If you can’t stand the heat……..”

  • Michelle Obama is also a public political figure, whether she and her supporters like it or not. Personally, I admire the heck out of her and think she’s the most kick-ass First Lady this nation has ever had, except maybe for Eleanor Roosevelt. But if Michelle’s going to go out campaigning and fundraising for the Dems and for her husband’s policy agenda, she’d best expect to face challenges, including rooms with people in them where not everybody thinks she and her husband are never to be challenged or questioned. (I thought we left the “no visible dissent” and “free-speech cages” behind with the Dubya era…)

    Disrupting a state dinner where there are protocol and foreign relations issues involved — yes, there I could see a reason to object. Likewise truly disruptive and violent behavior.

    But this was a political event. A fundraiser. I can’t think of a more appropriate place to raise one’s voice in protest.

    What harm was done? A canned speech was interrupted. A bit of disrespect displayed. Some people were upset. Oooh! How awful.

    On the plus side? Freedom of speech was just exercised. The right to protest and the right to petition for redress of grievances. And as far as I’m concerned, asking why the President won’t sign an anti-discrimination order that is entirely within his power to issue is a grievance worth mentioning.

  • Jafafa Hots

    You literally just said that the President’s spouse should be able to make political appearances at fundraisers and be immune from criticism?

    Screw your patriarchal and sexist “First Lady” crap. She’s an accomplished individual, she has a name, and it’s insulting to suggest that she needs coddling because of (apparently) either her gender or her personal relationship with the President. The only other possibility is that you’re suggesting that in our government there should be not employees, but persons exalted and given special deference and perhaps reverence?

    We leftists don’t need to emulate the right’s need to be starry-eyed dreamers admiring and defending our fantasy heroes.

  • I noticed that as well. Just as I noticed how quickly so many here switched to that incredibly biased language — none of which appeared in the AP story.

    Ms. Sturtz was ‘screaming’ and worse, as some here would describe it, invading Michelle Obama’s personal space to do it. (As if the Secret Service would ever permit such a thing.)

    The AP story said ‘shouting’ twice, and that it was Ms. Obama who came over to talk to the protester.

    Was Ms. Sturtz being disruptive with her shouted questions? No doubt. Rude? Perhaps it could be judged such. But as near as I can tell and as the reporting went, Ms. Sturtz had earned the right to be there because a suitably sized political campaign donation was made, either by her personally or in her name. Either way, she had as much right to be there as anybody else.

    Yet commenters here want to portray her behavior as beyond acceptable and completely irrational and without merit.

    And not a one of them addresses the question: Given there is virtually no chance of any form of ENDA passing before 2015 at the earliest (and actually, more like 2017 or even later), what harm is there in President Obama signing the executive order he promised he’d sign back in 2008? Why won’t he do it?

    It’s a question that needs to be answered.

  • FunMe

    Yada, yada, yada!

  • FunMe

    Amen brother!

  • FunMe

    Well said!

  • FunMe

    “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was well timed in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word Wait! It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This Wait has almost always meant Never. We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

    DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING
    From ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ to ‘Why We Can’t Wait’

  • Jafafa Hots

    Not to mention “whining” is particularly problematic when used to dismiss legitimate women’s issues. When women’s issues are the subject and women not sitting back and politely waiting to be offered equality is the act, it is always described as “whining,” “hysterical,” “overly aggressive” “rude” and anything else that helps reinforce the status quo idea that women’s voices are lesser, that women aren’t supposed to stand up and be strong and DEMAND things, even when the demands are reasonable.

  • FunMe

    Amen!

  • Jafafa Hots

    “So I expect to see whole lot of hollering at republican legislators…” I do too.
    But one thing about the GOP – they aren’t claiming to be on our side.

  • FunMe

    “If Michelle doesn’t handle dissent well,” … then perhaps she should stay home or at The White House and welcome ladies with tea and cookies.

  • I happened to have a tickle of old memory and dug this up. It turns out this was just one of a bunch of similar incidents.

    I’m just asking, was the protest incident described here out of place? Not a fund-raiser per se, but still a campaign event. And unlike Ms. Sturtz’s shouted remarks and question, Ms. Niederer was indeed described as ‘screaming’ her questions.

    http://archive.truthout.org/article/bereaved-mother-arrested-heckling-laura-bush

    The mother of a soldier killed in Iraq was arrested Thursday after interrupting a campaign speech by first lady Laura Bush. As police hauled her away, she shouted, “Police brutality.”
    (snip)
    Wearing a T-shirt with the message “President Bush You Killed My Son,” Sue Niederer of nearby Hopewell screamed questions at the first lady as the audience tried to drown her out by chanting, “Four more years! Four more years!”

    She pressed on, refused to leave and eventually police removed her from the firehouse rally.
    (snip)
    Outside, Niederer said she wanted to ask Laura Bush “Why the senators, the legislators, the congressmen, why aren’t their children serving?”

    She went on to blame the president for the death of her 24-year-old son, Army First Lieutenant Seth Dvorin. He was killed while trying to defuse a roadside bomb that exploded on him. “My son was in the Army, and he was killed February third this year,” she said.

    As the Hamilton police and Secret Service agents surrounded her and reporters pressed her with questions, she held her ground, claiming “I had my ticket” to attend the speech by the first lady.

    By all accounts, Ms. Sturtz also had a paid ticket to attend Ms. Obama’s political event.

    So if one of these was an appropriate protest and the other wasn’t, what makes them different? Or were both wrong? And if both were wrong, is it ever permissible to protest public figures at political events?

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Oh, look, the stupid Obamabot is vomiting Administration nonsense about how pointless it would be to protect people from discrimination because someday some Republican might stop doing it.

    ENDA is going nowhere. Democrats killed it for a generation in 2009 when they had supermajorities in both Houses.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    It was Michelle who walked over and got in her face, you stupid Obamabot.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Oh, please, you’re the idiot who says fundraisers are not appropriate times to pressure the money-grubbing party.

  • Interesting spin you put on an event and incident where you were not present.

    The stories all say ‘shouted’ — you say ‘screamed.’ There’s a qualitative vocal difference between the two. Personally, I trust the AP reporter who was attentive enough to the facts that he or she completely described what Michelle was wearing to be able to accurately report whether Ms. Sturtz was shouting or screaming.

    There was no indication this protester was in Michelle’s face or anything, and in fact, it was Ms. Obama who left her lectern to come over to talk to the protester and issue her threat to leave. Again, the story did not say that Ms. Sturtz ‘screamed’ in Ms. Obama’s face. I rather think that would also have been an important detail for reporting if it had happened that way.

    And you further predict that the shouting would have gone on for hours — rather an exaggeration, given that likely would never have been allowed to happen under any circumstances. And ‘whining’. One loaded, emotional, pejorative term after another, all of them ascribing irrational and borderline unhinged behavior on the part of the protester.

    Lots of loaded language there. Very little evidence to back your version of the story. A whole lot of unfocused outrage.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    It was Obama who got all up in HER face, you stupid Obamabot. And what excuse did she have for the refusal to sign the executive order? None, you stupid Obamabot.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Yep. The DOJ would still be defending DOMA, DADT would still the law, and Obama would still be for civil unions if we’d left things to these cowering bastards and their useless cocktail party cocksucking.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Fuck you and your standard Obamabot diversionary tactic. Obama needs not one Republican to sign an executive order, and he no rationale whatsoever for refusing to sign it. Go fucking worship whomever you want, but get out of the faces of people trying to get some basic protection against discrimination.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    A fundraiser is EXACTLY when to disrupt because their precious gay gravy train is all they care about. Bill Clinton has been ripped to shreds in the gay community for two decades.

  • You’re completely right: A law would be better.

    But there is zero chance of a legislative ENDA before January 2015. We could have the executive order version tomorrow. We actually could have had it since January 2009.

    Y’know, it’s funny — Harry Reid said a few weeks back that he’d like to see the Senate pass ENDA before the end of the year. What’s never mentioned is that the House has to pass it, too, and there’s a snowball’s chance of that happening whether or not we protest until our throats are bloody.

    But the EO is well within reach. It is do-able. It is realistic. There’s nothing preventing it from happening except for the refusal of the one man whose signature the order requires.

    It is not a perfect solution, but it would be something. It would be in place at least until January 2017. And it would demonstrate both leadership and conviction to principles.

  • Leota2

    Well, now she is whining saying she was “taken aback” that Michelle didn’t
    just let her scream in her face for a few hours. I hate when the offensive
    becomes offended.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Democrats have had 40 years to pass ENDA and have refused, even when they controlled both houses and the WH while their (your) Republican cousins applaud.

  • Leota2

    “If you are a member of an oppressed class, you demand your rights from those who hold power any time and any place they appear.”

    So I expect to see whole lot of hollering at republican legislators instead of the
    people who are actually doing somethings for the LGBT community. You know cause actually having this signed into law kicks the hell out of an executive order . . . .

  • Leota2

    Thank you for mentioning the Clinton thing. And can I just say that maybe if activist got in the faces of more of the republican obstructionists—-maybe ENDA could be an actual law that will hold no matter who is in office instead of an Executive Order—which can be ignored in a couple of years when someone else is in the WH. Maybe our girl was too cowardly to do that in a room full of republicans as they will not say a word before they have you jackbooted out.

  • Apparently. And judging from all the down-voted comments, I guess they think Obama will just give us all the rights for which we’ve been fighting if we simply keep waiting patiently and not make any noise. Oh, and keep opening our wallets and offering up our votes with no strings or preconditions.

    I still remember all the crap Dan Choi and the GetEQUAL activists put up with in the aftermath of the 2010 mid-terms, when they took to non-stop protesting at the White House because it looked like the fix was in — that the lame-duck Congressional session would choose to punt on the DADT repeal and the WH didn’t want to deal with it.

    In fact, back on April 22 2010, Press Secretary Gibbs said the President did not plan on trying to get DADT repealed that year at all.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joe-mirabella/white-house-no-dont-ask-d_b_546878.html

  • Bill_Perdue

    The use of anti-female and misogynist terms an attack on the women’s movement, our natural allies. It’s as despicable as the use of racist, Islamophobic or anti-Semitic terms. It’s disgusting.

  • Jafafa Hots

    You know what I’M not for? I’m not for “First Lady” (or it’s eventual counterpart, First Gentleman)
    A non-elected person who, merely because they are in a relationship with the President, gets power. The term “First Lady” itself which is simultaneously undemocratic, classist and sexist.

    The President is an elected representative. Not royalty.
    His wife is a famous woman. Period.
    The woman who “heckled” her was exercising her rights to complain about being treated inequally under the law, to someone who (unlawfully) has a lot of power to change that oppressive situation.

    EVERYWHERE and EVERY TIME is the right place and time to do that.

    No heroes, no royalty, no celebrity worship.
    Democracy.

  • Jafafa Hots

    If you are a member of an oppressed class, you demand your rights from those who hold power any time and any place they appear.

    There is NO time and place for government discrimination against minorities, and there is no time or place where speaking out against that oppression TO those who continue it is inappropriate.

    ANY place Barack Obama or Michelle Obama or anyone else who enforces a system of discrimination appear is the RIGHT time and place for someone who is subject to that discrimination to make their voice heard.

    This woman who shouted is a lesbian and therefore does not have full and equal citizenship rights – and she is supposed to hold back her complaint against those who perpetuate her own oppression because her oppressors are holding a photo op?

    You have a strange view of what polite behavior is, what is proper and improper, and what deference a person who is being discriminated against owes those who are part of that discriminatory system.

    I guess this woman was too “uppity” for your tastes. And clearly for Michelle Obama’s.

    I guess this woman’s civil rights are less important than the fund raiser or Michelle Obama’s potential discomfort.

  • Drew Breesus

    Disagree… the First Lady is never fair game to heckle at a fund raiser.

  • Leota2

    So bullying is not wanting someone all up in your face screaming when you’re trying to speak—and telling them so? Let me get me get out my Websters. Maybe the activist wanted Mrs. Obama to bake her a pie. Disrespect is disrespect to a woman who has had to put up with a whole lot of shit from republicans and racists. No.

  • Drew Breesus

    you dont heckle at a fund raiser… period. This was totally out of place. This heckler was an invited guest and she decided to make the event about herself. Clinton gave us DOMA and he gets an award. Obama is breaking down some very stubborn traditional walls and his wife gets heckled.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Why shutting up and blindly supporting the Party, of course. The HRC “strategy.”

  • penpal

    Make noise, and lots of it. We need protections, and we need them now.

  • After months of nothing, we’re finally seeing a story that mentions both ENDA and the Executive Order version that could have been signed but wasn’t.

    The protest served its purpose perfectly. And that brave woman, Ellen Sturtz, has my thanks and admiration.

  • What would help? We seem to be out of other options.

    I’ll be polite here and just ask honestly, what other ways do we have left other than to protest directly to the people capable of delivering the justice we demand? People who previously said they would stand up for us, but have failed.

    I’ve been to my share of protests… and my wife, well, her experiences with the Boston Resistance put to shame my dabbling. She and her protest groups got the same complaints: “Not the right place or time. You’re hurting the cause by being rude. You’re making us look bad.”

    Sometimes you just have to risk the disapproval of the “don’t make waves” crowd. We learned it with Vietnam. We learned it again with AIDS/HIV. We learned it yet again with DADT.

    Michelle Obama was at a political event trying to raise money and support for her husband’s policies and agenda. Speaking out and saying that President Obama’s agenda needs to include the very thing he promised repeatedly on the 2008 campaign trail is fair game. Just because Michelle is well-liked or just because she’s a woman or just because she’s FLOTUS only by accident of marriage doesn’t let her off the hook, not when she herself is engaging in political activism.

    If nothing else, one very important thing was achieved by that one brave protester, who apparently is a lesbian if the transcript is correct: The story was picked up and is being reported, and people are now being reminded that Michelle Obama’s husband failed to keep his promise to sign an EO ENDA. That’s the whole purpose, and the reason why protesters stand there and are willing to risk arrest and abuse.

    So again, I ask you: What would work better? What other non-violent approach would be effective?

  • Good point!

  • Damn what a bitch! Screw her and her pumps.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Wrong. Giving blind support at cocktail parties is what is self-defeating.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    If she’s shaking down people for money, she’s completely fair game. And she better fucking learn how to handle legitimate dissent over her husband’s refusal to keep a campaign promise without any reason.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    When the First Lady is out pumping people for money, she is completely fair game.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    What hurts our cause is sellout queers who side with FLOTUS’s bullying in lieu of any reason for refusing to sign the order.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Since they have no reason for refusing to sign the executive order, she responded with passive-aggressive bullying. Let her go back to the White House in a fucking huff. And to hell with all the fucking drones gulping down their drinks and demanding more gay money after stabbing us in the back on immigration and refusing to sign an executive order.

  • I didn’t even notice, so thanks for pointing out. It’s sad that I’m so used to that.

  • Jim Olson

    Bad form. This does not help our cause.

  • If it weren’t for ACT Up many of us would be dead by now.

  • Pluck lame ducks!

  • Thank you for saying that. It’s going to take more than cute bangs to makeover the Obama presidency.

  • Zachary Smith

    It was the wrong time and the wrong place. Mrs. Obama was on a mission to part fools from their money.

    *** Obama’s main thrust in her speech was to urge donors to stay engaged and back the president’s agenda, even though there’s no presidential election coming up. ***

    They can heckle BHO all they please. Going after the wife, even when she’s being obviously political like here, is self-defeating.

  • nicho

    Right. I forgot. We should just be polite, sit down, STFU, and be grateful for whatever crumbs Barry tosses our way.

  • The third sentence in the story was a description of what Ms. Obama was wearing. Apparently this was more important than the incident itself. Sad and sexist all at once…

    If Michelle doesn’t handle dissent well, then maybe she should press her husband to keep his campaign promises, including in this case the one he repeated many times, how at the beginning of his first term in office he’d issue an executive order barring gay discrimination by federal contractors.

    He did not keep this promise. To date, he has never explained why. I should think a little shouting is warranted by now.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Good for the activists. When Obama rebranded last year it didn’t mean he was pro-gay, just that he was pro-gay money and pro-gay votes.

    He’s steadfastly refused to campaign for ENDA or against Bill Clinton. Now that he’s a lame (severely lame) duck the WH will just have to expect more criticism and and more demands. Too bad for them if they can’t handle it.

  • Bill_Perdue

    We’re never seen when we’re in the political closet. As Rosa Luxemburg so perfectly put it: “Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.”

    It’s long past the time when we should be rattling the chains of oppression. ENDA has been proposed, in one form or another, for over 40 years and in all that time bigots in the Democrat and Republican parties have either ignored it or attempted to gut it please bigoted bosses.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEJi2QMhrqg

  • wtf2

    “One of the things I don’t do well is this.” Allow dissent? Not sure which is preferable–Obama faking respect for the citizen who interrupted his War on Terror speech or Michelle “Bare Arms” Obama who can’t even fake it. I bet she can’t wait to join a dozen corporate boards once she leaves the White House. She can then collect millions for rubber stamping the CEOs’s every whim in a dissent-free environment. Plutocratic crony heaven.

  • Brian

    There still is the issue of optics. Michelle Obama is a popular political figure, and by shouting her down, it will potentially make a lot of people less sympathetic to the cause the protesters are trying to convey. Actions like these are more self-defeating than anything.

  • nicho

    If she’s making political appearances as a surrogate for the president, she’s fair game. She can’t have it both ways.

  • climate3

    ENDA is definitely something I want, but heckling the First Lady? I’m not for that. Now the President . . . I’m halfway for that. It depends where he is speaking. But the First Lady? That’s too much into “Michelle Malkin/Sarah Palin attack the First Lady” territory.

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