Thursday, December 12, 2013
At Thursday night's debate on same-sex marriage, an incident involving a Maryland diversity officer who was suspended after she signed a petition to put gay marriage on the ballot was offered by opponents as further proof that the law will have a chilling effect on free speech.
Carroll Conley of the Christian Civic League used Angela McCaskill of Gallaudet University in Maryland as an example of the erosion of individual liberties.
"She was suspended for saying citizens should have a vote," he said.
Mary Bonauto, an attorney for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, quickly responded.
"It's an outrage and she should get her job back," she said.
On that point, the two sides agreed.
Earlier this month, McCaskill was suspended from her job as diversity officer after other faculty members discovered she had signed a petition to send gay marriage to the ballot in Maryland. The university president said he needed time to consider whether it was appropriate for a diversity officer to have signed the petition, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Earlier this week, McCaskill held a press conference to demand her job back and to ask for compensation for what the university has put her through.
"This has been a tremendously horrific time for myself and my family," she said, according to The Sun. "They university has allowed this issue to escalate out of control. They have attempted to intimidate me. They have tarnished my reputation."
The situation has been used in a TV ad by gay marriage opponents in Maryland, and looks as though it will continue to be cited by opponents as an example of what will happen if gay marriage becomes legal in more states. In an editorial, The Sun called it a "scare tactic."
Maine, Maryland and Washington will vote in November to decide whether to allow gay marriage, and Minnesota will vote on a proposed constitutional ban.Tweet
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John Richardson joined the Press Herald in 1990 after working as a reporter in New Jersey. He has covered a variety of beats, including marine issues, the environment and health care. He is now covering politics and focusing on Maine's U.S. Senate race.
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Colin Woodard has covered politics and elections for more than two decades, from Bosnia and Bucharest to Washington, D.C., Augusta, and Portland City Hall. He has written for a wide range of national and international publications and is the author of four books, including "American Nations," a history of North America's regional cultures. He joined the Portland Press Herald at the end of April and covers political finance and lobbying, among other things.
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Susan Cover has covered Maine politics for 10 years and worked in Kansas, Ohio and Rhode Island as a reporter. This year, she is focusing on covering the same-sex marriage debate for MaineToday Media.
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Michael Shepherd joined MaineToday Media in May 2012 after graduating from the University of Maine in Orono, where he edited The Maine Campus, the student newspaper there. Until November he'll be writing the Truth Test, a recurring feature analyzing political statements and advertising.
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