Fired Over Marriage?

On Wednesday, October 10, Gallaudet University suspended a senior university official when it was learned that she had signed a ballot petition giving Maryland voters the right to vote on recently passed legislation that redefines marriage in the state.

Dr. Angela McCaskill serves as the school's chief diversity officer, and is according to the university's web site the first deaf African American woman to earn a Ph.D. from Gallaudet. Apparently that is not diverse enough for the uniform viewpoint required by the school's administration. Despite more than twenty years of service to the school, Dr. McCaskill was placed on paid leave by University President T. Alan Hurwitz, who said that "Dr. McCaskill has participated in a legislative initiative that some feel is inappropriate for an individual serving as Chief Diversity Officer."

Until a few years ago, a decision punishing an employee for engaging in the democratic process would have been jaw-dropping. However, Gallaudet University's discriminatory action reflects a troubling nationwide trend of voter intimidation and bullying tactics against those who uphold marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Over the summer, we saw two mayors attempt to block Chick-fil-A location permits simply because the mayors disagreed with the marriage views of Chick-fil-A's CEO.

A person should no more be punished for signing a petition than they should be for voting. A citizen's right to participate in our democratic process is at the core of our system of representative self-government.

The University's punishment of Dr. McCaskill will no doubt have a chilling effect. If this action is allowed to stand, others like it will follow.

We have seen that wherever marriage is redefined, we can only expect more of these civil rights violations. As my friend, Derek McCoy, executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, told the Baltimore Sun, "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?"

For more information go to Family Research Council