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Protesters At Gallaudet University Demand Reinstatement Of Official Suspended For Signing Gay Marriage Petition

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJZ) — Protesters demand the reinstatement of a Gallaudet University administrator suspended for signing Maryland’s same-sex marriage petition to referendum.

Political reporter Pat Warren reports on a rally held at the school.

Demonstrators demanded the reinstatement of Gallaudet University’s chief diversity officer Angela McCaskill.

“You don’t need permission to sign a petition! You don’t need permission to sign a petition!”

The school for the deaf suspended McCaskill after a faculty member reported seeing her signature on the petition to put same-sex marriage on the November ballot.

McCaskill defended herself in a news conference last week.

“The university took this action against me because I was among 200,000 people who signed this petition. I exercised my rights. I thought it was important that we as the citizens of Maryland have an opportunity to vote,” she said.

“It really is confusing cause there is a lot going on, there’s a lot of misunderstanding,” Joanna Martin, a student at Gallaudet, said.

The university is considering whether signing the petition affects McCaskill’s ability to perform as diversity officer.

In a statement, Gallaudet’s president Dr. T. Alan Hurwitz said: “I’d like to reiterate that while this has become an issue beyond our campus, as president of Gallaudet University, my No. 1 concern is our university community.”

McCaskill’s supporters say it’s a bigger issue.

“We must be careful not to trade one form of discrimination for another,” Bernard Corprew of the Southern Baptist Church said. “If you do it for one, the rest of us are in trouble too because it won’t be long before they’re knocking at your door.”

Students are forming their own opinions.

“For me, I personally feel as though both sides are correct,” Lenore Hellman, a Gallaudet senior, said.

“She has done an outstanding job. We don’t see that her decisions affect the way she conducts her work, so I think people should let her stay,” Richard Danhan, a fifth-year Gallaudet student, said.

Other demonstrations are planned. Hurwitz said he will tackle whatever steps necessary to assure the safety of the campus community.

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