WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) - Gallaudet University has placed its Chief Diversity Officer on paid leave because she signed a petition
that gave Maryland voters a say on same-sex marriage.
Critics are blasting the school, saying it has violated Dr. Angela McCaskill's basic First Amendment rights.

Supporters say McCaskill cannot be a Chief Diversity Officer without supporting equal rights for all.

9News's Bruce Leshan reports that the two people at the heart of this are not talking. Gallaudet's president did blast an email out to students saying he placed McCaskill on leave because she participated in a legislative initiative some feel is inappropriate for a Chief Diversity Officer.

He says he's considering next steps.
Dr. McCaskill's husband did pick up the phone at their Upper Marlboro home when 9News called. He said he couldn't comment until they hired a lawyer. But he said that his wife is so shaken by this, she's now under a doctor's care.

The man leading the effort to block gay marriage in Maryland is furious, but the group urging support also says Gallaudet's made a mistake.

McCaskill has served Gallaudet for nearly a quarter century.
She's the first deaf African American woman to earn a PhD from the nation's premiere school for the deaf.

But many students still support the administration's decision to place her on leave for signing the petition to give voters a right to veto same sex marriage.

The conservative Family Research Council is already using the controversy as a rallying cry. lt has blasted an email to its thousands of supporters urging them to contact Gallaudet and demand McCaskill's immediate reinstatement.

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