The same-sex marriage battle is heating up in a disturbing way.
Gallaudet University has put its chief diversity officer on paid leave after she signed a petition to put a gay marriage referendum on the ballot in Maryland.
The ballot measure would allow Maryland voters to accept or reject legislation that redefines marriage. Angela McCaskill received her Ph.D. from Gallaudet University and is herself hearing-impaired.
"Until a few years ago, a decision punishing an employee for engaging in the democratic process would have been jaw-dropping," says Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. "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."
Of course, this isn't the first incident of bullying tactics against traditional marriage supporters. Two mayors tried to block Chick-fil-a location permits over the summer because they disagreed with the marriage views of Chick-fil-A's president.
"A person should no more be punished for signing a petition than they should be for voting. This is a basic citizen's right to participation in our democratic process," Perkins says. "Gallaudet University claims to believe in diversity but clearly their definition of diversity doesn't allow for dissent when it comes to marriage."
Moreover, Perkins argues that Gallaudet University's action underscores how much more is at stake in redefining marriage than two people walking down the aisle. As he sees it, the very livelihood of business owners and employees is at stake. If marriage is redefined, he warns, we can fully expect to see more of these discriminatory actions taken against anyone who espouses marriage as it has always been defined.
"The university president should be fired for violating our most basic civil rights," Perkins says. "The university's punishment will no doubt have a chilling effect. If this is allowed to stand, others will follow."
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