October 17, 2012 | by Michael K. Lavers
Anti-Question 6 ad features suspended Gallaudet administrator
Angela McCaskill, Wyndal Gordon, Maryland marriage petition, same sex marriage, gay marriage, Gallaudet University, Washington Blade, gay news

Gallaudet University chief diversity officer Angela McCaskill this week denounced a decision by the school to put her on leave after she signed an anti-gay petition in Maryland. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The group opposed to Maryland’s same-sex marriage law on Tuesday released a new ad that features the Gallaudet University official placed on administrative leave earlier this month for signing the petition that prompted the Nov. 6 referendum on the issue.

“They promised us Question 6 protects people who oppose gay marriage, but it doesn’t,” says the Maryland Marriage Alliance ad. “Doctor Angela McCaskill is an official at Gallaudet University. She signed the petition putting Question 6 on the ballot, then she was suspended from her job. She’s not alone. When marriage has been redefined elsewhere as Question 6 does, people who believe in traditional marriage have been punished.”

The ad contains footage of McCaskill, who is Gallaudet’s chief diversity officer, signing inside what appears to be a classroom. It also includes footage of a vandalized Chick-fil-A, a man whom the Maryland Marriage Alliance alleges was fired from his job for opposing nuptials for gays and lesbians and a heterosexual couple whom the narrator claims was sued over their stance on the issue.

“Who will be next?” asks the ad. “We’re all at risk under Question 6.”

The Maryland Marriage Alliance announced the new ad in a press release it sent to reporters during a press conference in front of the State Capitol in Annapolis at which McCaskill said Gallaudet unfairly “tarnished” her reputation by placing her on administrative leave. She also identified the two lesbian faculty members — Martina “MJ” Bienvenu and Kendra Smith — who urged Gallaudet President T. Alan Hurwitz in a letter they sent him after learning she had signed the petition to reprimand her.

“Our alliance of diverse stakeholders across the state have warned Marylanders about the religious liberties and individual rights that are compromised if same-sex marriage is made law,” said Rev. Derek McCoy, chair of the Maryland Marriage Alliance. “Homosexual activists continue to cry that individual and religious liberties are not at risk. The suspension of Dr. McCaskill is proof of the disingenuous and untruthful nature of that argument. Doctor McCaskill has worked on the campus of an American college for the deaf and hard of hearing for over 20 years. If the marketplace of ideas and freedom of expression is not prized in that environment, how can we ever expect it to survive elsewhere if same-sex marriage activists prevail?”

McCaskill’s lawyer, J. Wyndal Gordon, told WJLA earlier on Wednesday that his client would “rather” see the Maryland Marriage Alliance pull the ad. A spokesperson for the anti-Question 6 group told the D.C. television that the Maryland Marriage Alliance plans to continue running the spot. 

Meanwhile, Hurwitz said in a statement before the Annapolis press conference that he would like to see McCaskill return to her job.

“While I expect that a resolution of this matter can be reached that will enable Dr. McCaskill to continue as our chief diversity officer, this will require that she and the university community work together to respond to the concerns that have been raised,” he said.

Josh Levin, campaign director of the pro-Question 6 group Marylanders for Marriage Equality, joined Gov. Martin O’Malley and McCoy in criticizing Gallaudet’s decision to place McCaskill on administrative leave for signing the same-sex marriage referendum petition.

 

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

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