School diversity officer placed on paid leave after signing anti-gay marriage petition

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The Family Research Council wants a school fined and its president fired because it placed on temporary paid leave an administrator who signed an anti-gay marriage petition.

Gallaudet University put chief diversity officer Angela McCaskill on leave after learning that she signed a petition to hold a referendum on Maryland’s marriage equality law on Nov. 6.

The legislation was passed and signed into law earlier this year, but opponents gathered enough signatures to take the issue to the general election ballot. 

T. Alan Hurwitz, president of the school for the deaf and hearing impaired, issued a statement explaining the action this week: “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. I will use the extended time while she is on administrative leave to determine the appropriate next steps.”

Tony Perkins, president of the anti-gay Family Research Council, defended McCaskill and also the campaign against marriage equality as he denounced the school’s action as anti-democratic.

"Until a few years ago, a decision punishing an employee for engaging in the democratic process would have been jaw-dropping,” Perkins said in a news release. “However, Gallaudet University's discriminatory action reflects the troubling trend of intimidation and bullying tactics against those who uphold marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

Perkins, whose group has been labeled a hate organization by the Southern Poverty Law Center, said signing the petition was McCaskill’s “basic citizen’s right to participation in our democratic process” and that the university president should be fired.

Two years ago, Perkins and the FRC endorsed U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint's suggestion of barring LGBT people and sexually-active single women from working as teachers. 

The Washington Blade first reported on McCaskill signing the petition.