Signature on same-sex marriage referendum brings employer sanction
Published: October 15, 2012
BALTIMORE (CNS) -- The executive director of the Maryland Catholic Conference called it alarming that a university would sanction one of its officials for signing a petition to bring Maryland's same-sex marriage law to a public referendum. "To express a desire that marriage is and should remain a union between one man and one woman is not hate speech," Mary Ellen Russell said Oct. 11. "To believe that marriage between a man and a woman is foundational to society and the most beneficial way of raising children is not a bigoted position. Or at least hasn't been until now," the head of the Catholic conference said in an email to The Catholic Review, Baltimore's archdiocesan newspaper. Angela McCaskill, chief diversity officer at Gallaudet University in Washington, was reportedly among more than 160,000 signatories on a petition to put Maryland's law legalizing same-sex marriage on the Nov. 6 ballot for referendum. Gallaudet University president T. Alan Hurwitz released a statement to the university community Oct. 10 saying that McCaskill, a resident of Maryland, was placed on paid administrative leave. McCaskill has worked 23 years for the university, which serves people who are deaf and hard of hearing. Hurwitz appointed her to her most recent position in January 2011. "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. "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." "If Marylanders do not repeal the same-sex marriage law by voting against Question 6, what happened to Dr. Angela McCaskill is just a taste of what will happen to religious institutions, ministries, businesses and other individuals," Russell said.
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