Washington Post 10 Oct 2012
Gallaudet University’s chief diversity officer was placed on paid leave on Wednesday after school officials learned that she signed a petition challenging a new same-sex marriage law in Maryland. Angela McCaskill, who has worked for more than 20 years at the university for the deaf and hard of hearing, was among more than 200,000 Maryland residents to sign a petition seeking a referendum vote on the measure. The petition succeeded, and enactment of the law was put on hold pending the outcome of the referendum in November. On Wednesday, Gallaudet President T. Alan Hurwitz said he had placed McCaskill on administrative leave. “It recently came to my attention that Dr. McCaskill has participated in a legislative initiative that some feel is inappropriate for an individual serving as Chief Diversity Officer; however, other individuals feel differently,” Hurwitz said in a statement released to the news media. “I will use the extended time while she is on administrative leave to determine the appropriate next steps.”
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins had the following reaction:
“Until a few years ago, a decision punishing an employee for engaging in the democratic process would have been jaw-dropping. However, Gallaudet University ‘s discriminatory action reflects the troubling trend of intimidation and bullying tactics against those who uphold marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Over the summer, we saw two mayors attempt to block Chick-fil-a location permits simply because the mayors disagreed with the marriage views of Chick-fil-A’s CEO.
“A person should no more be punished for signing a petition than they should be for voting. This is a basic citizen’s right to participation in our democratic process. Gallaudet University claims to believe in diversity but clearly their definition of diversity doesn’t allow for dissent when it comes to marriage. ” Gallaudet University ‘s action underscores that far more is at stake in redefining marriage than two people walking down the aisle. Indeed, the very livelihood of business owners and employees is at stake. If marriage is redefined, we can fully expect to see more of these discriminatory actions taken against anyone who espouses marriage as it has always been defined. “The University President should be fired for violating our most basic civil rights. The University’s punishment will no doubt have a chilling effect. If this is allowed to stand, others will follow,” concluded Perkins.