White House stands behind first lady's handling of LGBT heckler

Posted by Justin Snow
June 6, 2013 3:15 PM |

Jay Carney.jpg

The White House is standing behind first lady Michelle Obama's handling of an LGBT-rights activist who interrupted her at a private fundraiser in D.C. on Tuesday to protest the president’s stance on an LGBT executive order.

"[I]t's my personal opinion that she handled it brilliantly," White House press secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday, one day after the first lady was interrupted by Ellen Sturtz of the LGBT-rights organization GetEqual. Sturtz was confronted by the first lady after interrupting her speech and calling on the president to sign an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Carney reiterated the president's support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, referring to answers he gave to Metro Weekly at the previous day's briefing. Carney said he had not discussed the heckling incident with the president.

Read the full exchange here:

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The First Lady, at an event last night, was confronted by a protestor who was asking about the executive order for federal contractors, and I'm just wondering if you could explain again why the President hasn't signed the executive order. 

CARNEY: Well, I did yesterday, so I could point you to what I said yesterday. The President fully supports a legislative effort, a bill called ENDA, on this matter. And again, I would just point you to what I said yesterday. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The legislative effort doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Given what you know about how Congress is moving things, I think it's unlikely to move. So I'm just wondering what is the --

CARNEY: I think that assessment is made frequently about difficult propositions, but that does not mean we should not support it and it does not mean that it won't come to pass.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Is there some reason you think it should be a legislative effort and not an executive order?

CARNEY: Again, I've addressed this many times, but we do believe that that’s the right way to go.  It was the right way to go with "don't ask, don't tell" and the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," and we believe this is the right way to go strategically.  And that’s why we're working with Chairman Harkin and others and pushing for this legislatively. 


CBS NEWS: Jay, if I could follow up on that -- any chance you asked the President what he thinks of the way Mrs. Obama responded to a heckler last evening?

CARNEY: I haven't asked the President that, but it's my personal opinion that she handled it brilliantly.

[Image: Jay Carney (Screenshot via YouTube)]

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