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US: University diversity officer placed on leave for signing anti-equal marriage petition

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  1. rick george 11 Oct 2012, 2:49am

    I fully support marriage equality, but I also support democracy, freedom of speech, expression and thought, and this is yet another incident that has occurred recently that sets a dangerous precedent for those fundamental freedoms.

    1. Dave North 11 Oct 2012, 8:51am

      How the hell can you be employed as a diversity officer when you disagree with diversity.

      Utter tosh.

      1. Exactly my thought when reading this article.

  2. MamaMeggie 11 Oct 2012, 3:06am

    As a private individual she has every right to hold her opinion, whatever it may be. However, this woman holds an office within the university which is supposed to support and develop diversity. Her signature of an initiative reflects, therefore, on the university as well as herself. Since marriage equality is on the ballot, she should be called out for this conflict of interest.

  3. One way to look at this…the gay activist got a BLACK woman fired over signing a petition, and just before an election with gay marriage as an issue. I would play the race card to the MAXS. After many years of BLACKS struggling to get to the top and gay activist get a BLACK woman fired for exercising her rights during an election.

    1. Dave North 11 Oct 2012, 8:52am

      Her colour has nothing to do with it.

      She was clearly unfit for the job.

    2. Spanner1960 11 Oct 2012, 9:09am

      Playing the “race card”?
      No wonder so many black people get accused of crying wolf.
      You are despicable.

      1. Do we? Of course, you must be one of them.

    3. JohnB, the faculty member who made the complaint hasn’t been identified yet you assume it was a “gay activist”. Maybe it was simply a person who cared about the equality of other human beings?

      As Dave North says the colour of this lady’s skin is irrelevant. It is her actions that are under examination and her race is nothing to do with it whatsoever. Thus “playing the race card” as you put it, is not only wrong, it undermines real victims of racism.

      1. why are gay people who complain about any kind of injustive always labelled as ‘activists’? Seems convenient to portray us all as militant trouble-makers.

        iris made a good point, though. Who even said the complainant was gay?

      2. Maybe JohnB is just a massive fan of Ali G.

  4. Fair enough, but she should avoid taking money under false pretences then. If she doesn’t believe in the values required for her job then resign?

  5. Spanner1960 11 Oct 2012, 9:07am

    “…some feel is inappropriate for an individual serving as Chief Diversity Officer”

    Is the man stark raving bonkers?
    If sexuality is not an aspect of diversity, I really don’t know what is.

    That country really needs to sort its human rights sh|t out.

    1. Spanner1960 11 Oct 2012, 9:10am

      Opps.
      Sorry, I read that she was supporting marriage.
      My bad… :/

    2. Nadia Isabella 11 Oct 2012, 1:25pm

      I am a student at Gallaudet. Please don’t generalize the actions of one individual to the whole entire United States. There are a lot of people in the Gallaudet community and in the U.S. who find this very upsetting. Today is National Coming Out Day in the U.S. (I’m not sure if it is also in the U.K. or other countries) and our school is having a Pride March today, and having presentations. We’ve been having panels and other events over the past two weeks that show Gallaudet is an LGBTQ-friendly place including a panel of faculty and students sharing their coming out stories, a panel of Transgender and Gender-Non-Conforming Alumni sharing their experiences, and a movie showing of a Deaf Transman called “Austin Unbound”. This is why so many people in the Gallaudet community are shocked. As a Queer person myself, I would say it’s a very accepting place for LGBTQ students on the whole. This event was really not the norm for Gallaudet.

      1. Wim from Holland 16 Oct 2012, 11:25am

        Never the less someone , who is at the brake in that progress has lost her credability in her functioning for diversity. She can function at the university in an tother job.

  6. Terribly unfair. I am a Spanish teacher but feel that, if I told my students not to learn Spanish and take up Swahili instead, I should be able to keep my job. And I should be able to keep it if I signed up for a popular vote to get Spanish teaching banned.

    1. Ever heard of a non sequitur Riondo? Spanish teaching has nothing to do with this situation and if you were trying for an analogy, it was a ridiculous one. For a start, what Spanish teacher would sign a vote to ban Spanish teaching?

      Forget about Spanish…when applied to a job where an essential component of your competency is an interest in supporting and protecting ALL students, you are liable to be punished if you take an action that by its nature, seeks to deny a portion of your student body the right to equal legal protection and recognition. I don’t know if she should lose her job but she should definitely have her suitability for it questioned.

    2. Oh dear. People don’t seem to get irony here. Of COURSE the woman’s position in the job should be questioned, at the very least.

      1. Paul Brownsey 11 Oct 2012, 12:38pm

        Ah, irony. My irony gets unnoticed, too. I’ve learned that one way to get the irony noticed is to go slightly too far. But as Joss says, even that won’t always work, because there are always unironical people on the internet who want to go even further. And in pre-internet days (I added that after I’d written the rest because otherwise someone would be bound to pick me up for thinking Swift had a computer), some people thought Swift meant it when he proposed that the hungry Irish should eat their own children.

        1. Actually, Swift sugested the hungry Irish should sell their children for RICH people to eat so they could buy cheaper foodstuffs for themselves. And lets hope David Cameron has never read the essay or it will be in his next round of benefit cutting plans.

      2. Paul Brownsey 11 Oct 2012, 12:42pm

        Ah, irony. Good. My own irony often doesn’t get noticed, either. I’m learning that the trick may be to go a bit further than seems plausible, whereas your teaching analogy didn’t. Still, as Joss suggests, there are still plenty of people on the internet who will take even the most outrageous line seriously. Didn’t some people think that Swift meant it when he proposed that the hungry Irish should eat their own children? (Yes, I do know Swift didn’t have access to the internet.)

      3. Midnighter 11 Oct 2012, 5:20pm

        I’m afraid I didn’t get your irony either Riondo. It looked conflation to me.

        In your scenario the positive regard for Swahili doesn’t automatically denote a lack in your ability to teach Spanish. Being a proven bigot in a role whose mission is to counteract bigotry is a clear conflict.

    3. Paul Brownsey 11 Oct 2012, 11:16am

      If I signed up for a Spanish course and found that my tutor was speaking out against the teaching of Spanish, calling for it to be banned, etc, I might reasonably wonder about his commitment to the job and, crucially, whether I was getting proper attention. “Can this man be trusted to do an adequate job of teaching me?” I might wonder.

      In the same spirit I once wrote to a doctor at the practice I attend who, standing as a Tory political candidate, had declared that gay rights were of no concern to “the people of Scotland”. I suggested that, in the light of her public statement, I, as a gay patient at the practice, might reasonably fear I would not get proper attention if I turned up with a gay-related medical problem.

    4. Riondo, irony on the internet doesn’t always work because there are far to many crazy people who sound like they are being ironic but later turn out to be insane. It’s harder and harder to judge.

      Plus from personal experience you wouldn’t be the first self sabotaging language teacher. My French teacher used to tell us all to learn Welsh instead of French and spent massive chunks of our lesson only speaking Welsh and not teaching us any French. She also told us she hated English people because they stole Welsh jobs and houses. She lived and worked in England…

      I definitely believe she should have been fired and struck off the teaching register for being an incompetent, anti-English, nut job.

      1. Didn’t anyone report her?

  7. By signing the petition she makes her service less accesible to LGBT people and brings into question her competence to run the service.

    There is most likely something in her contract about promoting diversity of all groups which will be why she is suspended. Some jobs you need to keep your personal opinions private so you are judged on your actions not opinions, if you decide to make them public as she has (though someone else may have signed her name) then you can expect them to be taken into account.

  8. In her position she should know, that the majority simply hasn’t the right to deny a minority equal rights, so this referendum should not be supported.
    So good to take action here.

  9. bobbleobble 11 Oct 2012, 11:52am

    She has a constitutional right to free speech and she is entitled to exercise it. At the same time though she doesn’t have a right to a job as a diversity officer in a university and if she has breached the terms of her contract then her position becomes untenable. When your opinions come into conflict with your job then you’ve got to decide which needs to change as you can’t keep both.

  10. It is at odds with the role she is meant to doing You cannot be a diversity officer yet oppose the measure of marriage equality.

  11. Sorry, am I missing something here?

    In my dictionary diversity means diversity of thought and ideas as much as anything else.

    Yet far from being allowed to express true diversity of thought people are being bullied into jumping into a line marked “conformist groupthink”.

    So what if she is a diversity officer?

    She is still entitled to be against gay marriage for reasons which have nothing to do with being anti-gay.

    I am a gay man and among many who do not support gay marriage for myriad reasons which, incidentally, have nothing to do with self-loathing or internalised homophobia.

    I wish the pro lobby would get off their high horses and allow people to form their own opinions instead of being pressured or feeling obliged or even intimidated into supporting equal marriage.

    It is a joke when so many who do come out in support have never had a good word to say about us previously but are jumping on the bandwagon to be seen as being with the times and boosting their public profile.

    1. bobbleobble 11 Oct 2012, 12:11pm

      Of course you’re missing something. She’s entitled to be against gay marriage if she wants but there is a difference between being against something and actively pursuing a means to prevent it from occurring by publicly supporting a petition. She has undermined her position as a diversity officer because immediately she appears less approachable to gay people. She may not be anti-gay but prima facie evidence is that she is and at the very least her position requires her to explain why she acted as she did. She has been suspended on full pay while her conduct is investigate, I can’t see a problem with that.

      And we know that your dislike for gay marriage is to do with your bizarre belief that there is a left wing conspiracy to undermine the church. It’s a shame you can’t be big enough to accept there are gay people who wish to marry and support their desires even if you don’t want them for yourself.

    2. “I am a gay man and among many who do not support gay marriage for myriad reasons ”

      There are a myriad of reasons why you, also, should not be allowed to be a diversity officer Samuel B.

      1. “I man a gay man and among many who do not support gay marriage for myriad reasons”

        Well, at least this debate will have been a learning experience for you and others. You will have learned how you are *really* regarded by people of religion “among many”. Fair enough if you are happy with less legal rights than a serial adulterous divorcee or a straight serial killer. And are happy for your views to be used by those opposed to equality. As they are on many forums. But at least you will no longer be under any illusion about how you are viewed by these people.

        1. More than happy with the rights i have as a gay man, thank you very much, and yes, I believe the global push for equal marriage rights is as much to undermine the church as it is to do with any genuine compassion the elite has for us.

          The more powerless the church becomes, the more power reverts to those in political authority to exert their tyranny and totalitarianism over us.

          It may not have occurred to those of you single-minded in your determination to get married amid the peeling of church bells, but the surveillance/police state is encroaching upon us by the day.

          They’re now mandating drones to hover over us and spy into every facet of our lives, and they can do that because there’s no voice powerful enough left to question the moral consequences of state interference in our lives.

          When the day arrives when we’re chipped and pinned perhaps then we’ll remember what little we did to stop tyranny in its tracks because we were so hellbent on getting hitched at the altar.

          1. Midnighter 11 Oct 2012, 6:09pm

            “It may not have occurred to those of you single-minded in your determination to get married amid the peeling of church bells,
            Personally I have no interest in church bells at my marriage, Sam. The church would be unwelcome in my life regardless of my sexuality.

            Equal marriage is not a threat to the church. Christianity did not invent and has no monopoly over marriage, and civil marriage is legally quite distinct and has been for a very long time.

            Surveillance society is a two edged sword, and yet I’ve not heard the church doing anything to fight that or anything else that actually concerns me in society, while at the same time I’m aware of an awful lot of harm they have done.

          2. Affording me less rights than a serial adulterous divorcee is what I regard as real state interference. Just the *legal* right to have the choice of *legal* marriage or not will do fine, thank you.. The church is irrelevant despite their pretence of somehow owning marriage. In fact they are using this issue in a rather sad attempt to assert their relevance, despite only about 30% of straight marriages taking place in a religious setting.

          3. PS.I if was a non gay opponent of SS marriage I might have been tempted to pose as a gay man on who wasn’t interested in SSM? Since there are no coherent arguments against SSM.

          4. Mister Fister 12 Oct 2012, 8:29pm

            @ Samuel B,

            You are in serious trouble boy. Who do you think you are spilling the beans about our plans to undermine the church and spy on everybody? If you carry on like this we will have to take action and ‘disappear’ you. In the meantime we will label you as a paranoid conspiracy theorist and simply take the piss out of you.

            You have been warned.

            Signed, Big Brother.

    3. A diversity officer’s job is to promote the equality of rights and opportunities for all minority groups. To then take a public stance against equality of marriage is somewhat peculiar, wouldn’t you say?

  12. Gallaudet violated D.C.’s civil rights laws. Under the D.C. Code, it is a criminal violation for “[a]ny person who … by threats or intimidation, interferes with, or attempts to interfere with, the right of any qualified registered elector to sign or not to sign any initiative, referendum, or recall petition.” The sentence for violating the provision can be up to a $10,000 fine and a year in prison.

  13. One thing the push for equal marriage rights has proven is that many on these boards do not believe in democracy or freedom of speech and thought and are as thoroughly intolerant and bigoted in their views of anyone who doesn’t jump into line with their consensus us they accuse their oppressors of being.

    There is a saying:- behave like your enemy and you become your enemy because you perpetuate all the hate and bigotry you are railing against.

    How true.

    1. What a lot of stupid hyperbole, Samuel B. Nobody wants to restrict this hypocritical woman’s freedom of expression. But it is surely obvious that anybody who acts in contravention of their own job description has undermined their capacity and right to do that job.
      In reference to your earlier posts on the power of the church being a necessary corrective to the tyranny of the state, you have a very quaint view of history. 16th century Spain? 17th century England or Massachussets? Tsarist Russia up to 1917?

    2. Midnighter 11 Oct 2012, 6:20pm

      And yet you would have the church remain an equal power to “balance” the democratically elected government as you have stated many times. You support the continued imposition of the views of a particular unelected Christian sect on the country, without regard to the diverse views and beliefs of the nation.

      You are a hypocrite, Sam.

      1. Eh? The UK was still a Christian country the last time I looked.

        And that from a gay man born to a Jewish mother and Catholic father but who denounced religion as soon as hew as able to murmur his first words.

        The multiculturalism – or, to give it its true name, ghettoisation – of the UK amid a multitude of beliefs arising from an influx of millions of immigrants in the last decade does not change that fact one jot, like it or not.

        A faithless world is one devoid of a moral compass, as can be testified by studying the sexually coarsened and depraved individual weaned on MTV.

        Whatever its faults, religion is the glue that binds social cohesion, and a world devoid of faith is one devoid of compassion, spirit and empathy for one’s neighbour as the fittest fight to survive and sod everyone else.

        1. Then look again. You will find a variety of theologies and many who subscribe to none. Christianity didn’t spring up full blown from the sod of good old blighty, it took Roman ‘immigrants’ to make it popular, and certain Norman immigrants to make it powerful, Elizabeth I and William III to secure the CofE’s authority via law. It is imposed, and never universally accepted.

          We are a nation of immigrants historically, and throughout that history we have lived alongside a succession of different cultures and religions in far more confrontational circumstances than at present.

          “A faithless world is one devoid of a moral compass”
          Arrogant rubbish. I have a perfectly good moral compass, and mine works better than the formal religion you’d have me follow: I don’t think it is moral to sexually abuse children and cover it up for one thing.

          Religion binds social cohesion? If it does, it only sets one society off to kill the other. Religion is as likely to spout hate and division.

        2. With regard to your last paragraph above Samuel B, I know where you’re coming from but I think you grievously overstate the issue: just to take one example, from all accounts there was a noticeable lack of compassion, spirit and empathy during the first decades of the Spanish Inquisition. Religion might have led to some levels of social cohesion in Northern Ireland too but with disastrous results, wouldn’t you agree?

  14. Her job is diversity approving of acceptance of people regardless of age, sex, race, orientation etc… If she is incapable of doing that then it is only too right that her political views are called into concern if she doesn’t genuinely believe in what she being paid to do.

  15. David Skinner 12 Oct 2012, 7:48pm

    No doubt no one complains when someone who is either LGBT or pro LGBT and in a position of authority makes their personal opinion known, or votes for gay marriage. No problem, no vested interest here. For them diversity simply means that the personal opinion of LGBTs, that there is no objective truth concerning morality and values, is an unquestionable objective truth. Its diversity does not stretch to the notion that there are indeed objective truths.
    Indeed this is the worst form of bigotry, that allows for not other view than queer theory and gay Marxist ideology. This will all end in tears.

    1. Strawman fantastical rubbish, David. The issue is that somebody employed to foster equality has been found to act against it, and you damned well know it. Now go back to your mad self-referential world of religious fundamentalism and stop bothering us with it.

    2. Still bearing a grudge against your gay ex-boss, David? He must have made a real impression on you…

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