October 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Gallaudet administrator placed on leave for signing Md. marriage petition
Gay News, Washington Blade, Gay Marriage

Angela McCaskill (Photo courtesy of Gallaudet University)

Gallaudet University has placed a senior administrator on leave after she reportedly signed a petition against Maryland’s same-sex marriage law.

The school’s president, T. Alan Hurwitz, confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that he has placed Dr. Angela McCaskill, associate provost of diversity and inclusion, on paid 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,” he said. “I will use the extended time while she is on administrative leave to determine the appropriate next steps taking into consideration the duties of this position at the university. In the meantime an interim Chief Diversity Officer will be announced in the near future.”

The website PlanetDeafQueer reported that an unidentified Gallaudet faculty member filed a complaint with the university last week after discovering McCaskill had signed the petition that prompted the Nov. 6 referendum on the same-sex marriage law that Gov. Martin O’Malley signed in March. A database of signatories that the Washington Blade published in July notes that Angela Patrice McCaskill of Upper Marlboro in Prince George’s County signed it.

McCaskill has been in her current position since Jan. 2011. Her official biography says she has worked at Gallaudet for 23 years.

“Dr. McCaskill’s decision to sign the petition does not automatically declare her support for or against same-sex marriage. It merely indicates that she wants to see the decision made by the people and not the legislature. But if her employer is able to restrict her right to engage in the petition-gathering phase of democracy, are they also allowed to enter the voting booth and dictate how she votes?” said Derek McCoy, chair of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, the group opposed to Maryland’s same-sex marriage law, in a statement. “Unfortunately, this is only the latest in a long list of attacks on individuals who express support for marriage as a union between one man and one woman. If such attacks can be made before same-sex marriage is law, how can homosexual activists in good faith say that religious liberties will not be attacked if Question 6 passes?”

The Blade will provide further updates as they become available.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

  • Tom

    An attorney is going to win this woman MILLIONS!

      • Joel

        Her life shouldn’t be defined by the “one issue” that is THE civil rights issue of our time? Civil rights isn’t something that creeped up as a racial thing in the 60’s. Civil rights includes many things, and the nature of her job is to support diversity and inclusion. Would NOM allow someone to be the vice president at its organization while supporting gay rights in his/her private life? I doubt it.

        • Booker

          I’m not sure if it’s really THE civil rights issue of our time, considering that we don’t even have anti-discrimination legislation for LGBT’s in most states, but that aside: if you know anything about McCaskill’s long professional history, this seems more like a weird quirk than something characteristic of her. From what I’ve read, students and faculty at the university are so shocked by this precisely because she’s always been so proactive and sensitive regarding LGBT concerns.

  • Pingback: Marylanders for Marriage Equality opposes suspension of Gallaudet administrator | Washington Blade - America's Leading Gay News Source()

  • Joel

    I love how opponents of marriage equality consistantly claim that tolerance of gays leads to religious oppression. Conservatives are already doing that! Every time they tell a military chaplain that favors gay marriage that he/she cannot perform the marriage and every time they tell inclusive congregations that their gay weddings will not be respected, that IS religious intolerance!

  • Jeri Hughes

    “We strongly disagree with the decision to put the chief diversity officer on leave and hope she is reinstated immediately,” Josh Levin, campaign manager of Marylanders for Marriage Equality, said in a statement. “Everyone is entitled to free speech and to their own opinion about Question 6 (the referendum on the ballot), which is about treating everyone fairly and equally under the law.”

    obviously, i am not the only individual who holds the concept of free speech and opinion as a sacred right. Thank God.

  • Pingback: Gallaudet diversity officer blasts school for suspension | Gay News | Washington Blade - America's Leading Gay News Source()

  • Pingback: Gallaudet official blasts school, hints lawsuit | Gay News | Washington Blade - America's Leading Gay News Source()

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