Michelle Obama snuck out White House to celebrate equal marriage
Michelle Obama and Malia Obama escaped White House security to celebrate the introduction of equal marriage.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama, a strong supporter of LGBT+ rights, made the revelation in her memoir Becoming.
In the book, Obama recalls the landmark US Supreme Court ruling on June 26, 2015, that brought equal, same-sex marriage to all 50 US states.
Obama’s husband, President Barack Obama, marked the occasion by lighting up the White House in the colours of the Pride flag—an unprecedented gesture, as thousands of LGBT+ activists celebrated in Washington.
“We were going on an adventure—outside, where people were gathered—and we weren’t going to ask anyone’s permission.”
— Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama wrote: “Looking out the window, I saw that beyond the gates on Pennsylvania Avenue, a big crowd of people had gathered in the summer dusk to see the lights.
“The north drive was filled with government staff who’d stayed late to see the White House transformed in celebration of marriage equality. The decision had touched so many people. From where I stood, I could see the exuberance, but I could hear nothing. It was an odd part of our reality.”
Obama wrote that she found herself “suddenly desperate to join the celebration,” and resolved to sneak out and see the lights.
She was joined by her eldest daughter Malia Obama, then 16, who Obama recalls “surprised me a little by immediately signing on” to the plan.
The former First Lady wrote: “We were going on an adventure—outside, where people were gathered—and we weren’t going to ask anyone’s permission.
“Malia and I were now on a crusade. We weren’t going to relinquish our goal. We were going to get ourselves outside.”
How Michelle and Malia Obama escaped the White House
Michelle Obama explained that the pair evaded the Secret Service, “busting past the agents on duty” in a bid to get outside.
The pair were initially unsuccessful in making their way outside, finding their planned escape point was locked, but a helpful staffer pointed them to an unlocked and unguarded loading door.
Michelle Obama recalled: “We made our way down a marble staircase and over red carpets, around the busts of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin and past the kitchen until suddenly we were outdoors.
“The humid summer air hit our faces. I could see fireflies blinking on the lawn.”
She added: “And there it was, the hum of the public, people whooping and celebrating outside the iron gates. It had taken us 10 minutes to get out of our own home, but we’d done it.
“We were outside, standing on a patch of lawn off to one side, out of sight of the public but with a beautiful, close-up view of the White House, lit up in pride.
“Malia and I leaned into each other, happy to have found our way there.”
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The Democrat, who has fielded rumours of her own presidential bid, added that the equal marriage ruling had “helped buoy us through a sad day,” after a service for victims of a mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.
Becoming by Michelle Obama was published on November 13.
Michelle Obama is a strong supporter of LGBT+ rights
Speaking in 2016, Michelle Obama said that seeing LGBT+ people on television and in movies has been vital in the fight for LGBT+ equality.
Paying tribute to Modern Family gay couple, Mitchell and Cameron, she said: “They become part of who you are. You share their pains. You understand their fears. They make you laugh, and they change how you see the world.
“And that is particularly true in a country where there are still millions of people who live in communities where they can live their whole lives not having contact or exposure with people who aren’t like them, whether that is race or religion or simply lifestyle.
“The only way that millions of people get to know other folks and the way they live…is through the power of television and movies.”