Gallaudet official on leave after signing gay marriage petition - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Gallaudet official placed on leave after signing gay marriage petition

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WASHINGTON -

The chief diversity officer at Gallaudet University has been placed on paid leave after she signed a petition to put a gay marriage referendum on the ballot in Maryland.

Gallaudet President T. Alan Hurwitz announced Angela McCaskill's leave in a statement Wednesday.

Hurwitz says McCaskill "participated in a legislative initiative that some feel is inappropriate" for someone in her position.

Gallaudet is the nation's leading university for the deaf and hard of hearing.

McCaskill lives in Maryland, where voters will decide in November whether to approve a state law legalizing gay marriage. The referendum was placed on the ballot by opponents of same-sex unions.

McCaskill's signature on the petition was disclosed in July by the Washington Blade. She did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Statement from Gallaudet University President T. Alan Hurwitz:

"I want to inform the community that I have placed Dr. Angela McCaskill on paid administrative leave effective immediately. 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 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."

In response to the news this afternoon that Gallaudet University's chief diversity officer, Dr. Angela McCaskill, was put on administrative leave for signing the referendum petition for Maryland's Civil Marriage Protection Act, Marylanders for Marriage Equality issued this statement by campaign manager Josh Levin.

"We strongly disagree with the decision to put the chief diversity officer on leave and hope she is reinstated immediately. Everyone is entitled to free speech and to their own opinion about Question 6, which is about treating everyone fairly and equally under the law."

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