Part of the freedoms we enjoy as Americans is the freedom to our own political views and the freedom to sign a petition that supports our views. At least that’s the way things are supposed to work.
Like all things there are exceptions to the rule and Gallaudet University seems to be one of them.
Wednesday, Oct. 10, Dr. Angela McCaskill, Chief Diversity Officer at Gallaudet University has been suspended and placed on a paid leave of absence by University President T. Allan Hurwitz, because she signed a petition to help get a marriage issue on the ballot in November. She didn’t sign the petition as a representative of the university, but as a private citizen.
Earlier this year, the Maryland legislature passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. A petition drive was launched to place the issue on the general ballot to allow Maryland voters to decide if they wanted to reject the legislative action or accept it as law. All McCaskill did as a private citizen was to exercise her right as an American who is registered to vote by signing her name along with all of the others on that petition. When the university found out she had signed the petition, she was placed on paid leave because, according to Hurwitz:
“Dr. McCaskill has participated in a legislative initiative that some feel is inappropriate for an individual serving as Chief Diversity Officer.”
Family Research Council commented on what happened to McCaskill saying:
“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.”
FRC has launched a petition drive to get Dr. McCaskill reinstated and are also calling on the university board to fire President Hurwitz for his actions in violating the constitutional rights of Dr. McCaskill.
Derek McCoy, Chairman of The Maryland Marriage Alliance also commented on the universities actions concerning Dr. McCaskill, saying:
“I join an ever-growing number of Marylanders in expressing my complete dismay over Gallaudet University’s decision to place Dr. Angela McCaskill on administrative leave for signing the marriage referendum petition. Dr. McCaskill has served Gallaudet and the greater community for 23-years. She is the first deaf African-American woman to be granted a Ph. D by the university.”
“She joined over two hundred thousand Marylanders in signing the petition. Quite simply, it was well within her rights to sign the petition. And furthermore, it is the responsibility of all American citizens to be engaged in the electoral process.”
“Dr. McCaskill’s decision to sign the petition does not automatically declare her support for or against same-sex marriage. It merely indicates that she wants to see the decision made by the people and not the legislature. But if her employer is able to restrict her right to engage in the petition-gathering phase of democracy, are they also allowed to enter the voting booth and dictate how she votes?”
“Unfortunately, this is only the latest in a long list of attacks on individuals who express support for marriage as a union between one man and one woman. 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 six passes?”
Almost every day I read at least one account of liberals doing their best to intimidate others to vote their way and for their candidate. People have been threatened and bullied by those who claim to be against bullying. I hope the university board at Gallaudet University rights the wrong by re-instating McCaskill and holding President Hurwitz accountable for his illegal actions.