WASHINGTON D.C. (WJZ)– A storm of controversy is brewing in Maryland’s same-sex marriage campaign. A college administrator has been placed on administrative leave for signing the petition to put same-sex marriage on the November ballot.
Political reporter Pat Warren explains why.
Dr. Angela McCaskill is Gallaudet University’s chief diversity officer.
“I grew up very, very poor and I learned to have faith in myself,” she said in a video posted on the university’s website.
McCaskill is now on administrative leave after a faculty member found her name on the record of voters who signed the petition to put same-sex marriage on the November ballot.
In a statement, the Gallaudet University president says: “Dr. McCaskill has participated in a legislative initiative that some feel is inappropriate for an individual serving as chief diversity officer.”
Student government representatives tell WJZ through an interpreter that they believe the university took appropriate action.
“The fact that she signed a petition that’s recognized to be against gay and lesbian marriages has caused a conflict among the students,” Stephanie Johnston, a student at Gallaudet, said.
Both sides of the political campaign are asking the university to reinstate McCaskill.
In a statement, Marylanders for Marriage Equality said: “We strongly disagree with the decision to put the chief diversity officer on leave and hope she is reinstated immediately.”
The Maryland Marriage Alliance, whose petition she signed, is also speaking out.
“Freedom of speech is at risk here,” Derek McCoy said.
But some Gallaudet students feel as diversity officer, McCaskill should not have signed the petition.
“If she votes on a secret ballot, I believe that it is out of our realm and that is entirely her choice,” Derrick Behm, a student at Gallaudet, said. “But the fact that it was a public petition, the fact that she endorsed that, can be hurtful.”
McCaskill was not available for comment.