US: Officer suspended over marriage petition reinstated

A diversity officer in America who was suspended because she believed that voters, not politicians, should decide the meaning of marriage has been reinstated.

Dr Angela McCaskill signed a petition in the US state of Maryland calling for a referendum after politicians in the state passed a law to redefine marriage.

But her bosses at Gallaudet University suspended her for supporting the public vote.

Welcomed

She has now been allowed back to work, and said she felt “welcomed” and “embraced” upon her return.

Campaigners on all sides of the marriage debate criticised the University for the suspension.

In an email to students and staff this week, University President T. Alan Hurwitz announced Dr McCaskill’s reinstatement.

Reasons

He did not elaborate on the reasons for the reinstatement, or apologise for the suspension.

Mr Hurwitz said: “During the past three months a large number of you have taken the initiative to communicate with me. I have also had the opportunity of attending discussions with students and with others. This has been a period of reflection for all of us.”

But university officials have refused to comment to American press about why they decided Dr McCaskill could return to work, calling it a personnel matter.

Freedom

More than 20,000 people signed a petition demanding her reinstatement, saying the University’s move had “tarnished” their freedom of expression.

And Dr McCaskill’s attorney, J. Wyndal Gordon, says there are still legal difficulties to be resolved with the University, and her reputation has been damaged.

Mr Gordon said: “I think Dr. McCaskill is entitled to some restoration of her reputation and I think the university has not come to full grips with that and we want to be a little more persuasive with them”.

He added: “Dr. McCaskill has been damaged as a result of this”.

A referendum on same-sex marriage was held in November last year in Maryland, and 52 per cent of voters supported the law which had already been forced through.

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