Michelle Obama Heckler Has Protested Obama Before, Has Rap Sheet

Ellen Sturtz, who campaigns for the LGBT group GetEqual, is a seasoned protester.

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(Evan Vucci/AP)
First lady Michelle Obama gestures as she speaks during a visit to Savoy Elementary School in Washington, Friday, May 24, 2013. The Savoy School was one of eight schools selected last year for the Turnaround Arts Initiative at the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Turnaround Arts Schools use the arts as a central part of their reform strategy to improve low performing schools. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Ellen Sturtz, the 56-year-old LGBT rights activist who heckled Michelle Obama Tuesday night, has a history of protests and has been arrested at least once, according to the advocacy group she campaigns for, GetEQUAL, and other media reports.

At a Democratic party fundraiser in Washington Tuesday night, Sturtz interrupted the first lady's planned 20-minute speech to demand the president sign an anti-discrimination executive order. FLOTUS confronted Sturtz directly, saying: "One of the things that I don't do well is this," and "listen to me or you can take the mic, but I'm leaving." Sturtz was eventually removed from the room.

It wasn't the first time Sturtz showed her displeasure with the Obamas over gay rights. In September 2011, the Chinese publication Xinhua reported that Sturtz turned up outside a Hollywood fundraiser for Obama, where hundreds of protesters who once supported Obama rallied on the streets to show their frustration over what they saw as broken promises. Sturtz told Xinhua that the president hadn't done enough to protect the lesbian and gay community. "We might continue to support him, but he needs to do more to push forward for his agendas," she said.

[PHOTOS: First Lady Michelle Obama]

According to a bio on the GetEQUAL website, that protest wasn't Sturtz's first rodeo, either. She is listed as an organizer for a Memphis training trip that included an instructional course in nonviolent civil disobedience, and she writes on GetEqual's site that after her father's recent death, she had "a desire to no longer be a nice lesbian" and an "interest in figuring out how to best further full LGBT equality - and if that means getting arrested, count me in!"

She was arrested in January 2011 in Rancho Mirage outside of the annual Koch brothers retreat, according to her bio, and has also protested nuclear warfare and the expansion of power plants. "[I] found government to be the most satisfying [way] to push the envelope where not everyone always agreed with me," she writes.

 

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