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Update: Diversity officer put on leave for signing petition hires lawyer, hopes to be reinstated

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  1. I’m confused, is the dr. Asking for referendum because its possible that the people will say yes to marriage. It’s not clear here on the motives of why she signed it. A referendum to me means to open the discussion why is that bad?

    1. There is a petition to have the Dr reinstated to her position.
      That is one thing.

      However, she was put on administrative leave for signing another petition that would have put marriage equality on the upcoming election ballot, in effect, asking the majority to rule on whether a minority should have equal rights or not.

      This second petition is the reason she was put on leave, and is the reason she should be fired.

      She is specifically tasked with equality and non-discrimination policies at the university. How can someone with those duties turn around and sign a petition demanding that equality be put to a vote?

      If equality for blacks had been put to a vote, there would never have been equality. There are still Americans who feel that black people are not deserving of equal treatment under the law.

      1. I couldn’t agree more with Mikey. What if years ago she had signed a petition disagreeing with interracial marriage, should she be in charge of equality and non-discrimination policies at a university? The university was right to put her on leave, I don’t care what the Gov. of Maryland says. Of course, so much of this is gay people and politicians not wanting to rock the boat before election time (when four states are voting on gay marriage) and have nutcases like vile anti-gay bigot Tony Perkins say that Christians are being victimized. At some point, gay people are going to have to find their gumption and say: Christian lor otherwise if you are against basic civil rights for gay people (like marriage), then you are a bigot. This wacky logic the bigots are currently proposing that says, “just because you vote against gay marriage doesn’t mean you are anti-gay” has become a runaway train…it has to be stopped.

        1. What if she had signed a petition demanding a constitutional amendment to reinstate slavery? Or naming some fundie religious cult as the National Religion and banning all others? Or a constitutional amendment to take away the right of women to vote?

          She didn’t give up any freedoms when she took the job. Ignoring her responsibilities to “Diversity” on the job may well lead to her losing her job. No one has ever claimed that freedoms are not without cost.

    2. Thanks everyone for clarifying for me x

  2. and the lawyer’s comments are EXACTLY why this person should have been divested of her position at the university.

    equal rights are no a “referendum” issue.

    it is not “right” to have a majority vote on whether or not to extend equal rights to a minority.

  3. let us remember the one concept that is the bane of all democracy: “tyranny of the majority”.

    That very concept is why basic, fundamental rights of individuals should NEVER be put to a popular vote.

    1. Cardinal Capone 14 Oct 2012, 1:26pm

      It’s the reason they have a Constitution and we have the Human Rights Act incorporating the European Convention on Human Rights directly into our law, so that judges in both places can protect our rights.

  4. GingerlyColors 13 Oct 2012, 6:41am

    Does Dr Angela McCaskill really have to go through the expense of hiring a lawyer when it is blatantly obvious that her 1st Amendment Right to freedom of speech under the US Constitution have been violated.

    1. Midnighter 13 Oct 2012, 7:21am

      She has the right express whatever bigoted views she likes, but at the same time she doesn’t have the automatic right to a job aimed at combating bigotry.

      She has demonstrated personal views incompatible with her position, a matter for her employer to decide and for which there is plenty of precedent.

    2. Her First Amendment Right to Freedom of Speech has not been violated. She has not been arrested. But her position on supporting an inequality in society hardly makes her fit for the position of being an equalities officer now, does it.

    3. and again, a post from someone who does not understand at all what the 1st Amendment is.

      The 1st Amendment does not apply across the board to all citizens and corporations of the United States. It applies ONLY to government.

      As in: the government shall not enact any laws that abridge the rights of its citizens.

      In this case, the entity you are accusing of breaching the good doctor’s 1st Amendment rights is a private entity.

      As clearly stated by Midnighter, she can say or do what she wants, and the University is absolutely free to respond in whatever manner they see fit.

      If she broke the university’s regulations on behaviour, then they have every right to let her go.

    4. GingerlyColors 14 Oct 2012, 4:48pm

      Sorry, I should have read the article properly before posting my comment. I assumed that she was supporting marriage equality as she is supposed to be a diversity officer and not the other way round. Apologies for any offence caused.

  5. “Others have suggested that, because of the public nature of the petition, it was inappropriate for Dr McCaskill for her to show her support that way”

    I agree. I see her signing the petition as quite an overt display of “I’m not sure people like you should have equality”. I’m sure she has her own opinions to which she’s entitled, but surely professionalism would have ensured she didn’t sign such a petition? She has a duty to remain neutral in her professional life.

    (and I really do hate people claiming not to be anti-gay when they appear to be seeking to discriminate against us – “I don’t hate gay people, I just don’t think you deserve the same rights as everybody else”)

  6. How would she like it if there was a petition created to deny rights to deaf people? Of course she should lose her job, she should be supportive of all students not just the hetero ones.

  7. Epitomising hypocrisy… Wonder why she didn’t quit when gays were beginning to ascertain equal rights? Then again, bigotry knows no bounds.

  8. “Everyone is entitled to free speech and to their own opinion about Question 6, which is about treating everyone fairly and equally under the law.”

    ~ So why does she want peoples right to be treated equally and fairly under the law to be VOTED on? It should just be done.

  9. She is clearly a bigot, and shouldn’t be in a job where she is supposed to champion diversity and equality. But I think that the process of getting rid of her was flawed.

    She does have a 1st amendment right to spout any bigoted rubbish she likes. Of course that is not compatible with her job. If I were her manager, I would have asked her to demonstrate to me that she upholds the values that required for the job. When she failed to do so, I would fire her for not being able to do her job. But I wouldn’t fire her (or place her on administrative leave) for signing a petition outside of work. Although the result may be the same, the process probably matters, and I fear that she will now win a discrimination case, and the university will have to pay this scumbag compensation.

    1. She will not win a discrimination lawsuit.
      Her 1st Amendment rights, despite whatever garbage her idiot lawyer spews, were not violated.

      She absolutely has the right to say whatever she wishes.

      And the University, not being a governmental body, has every right to respond to the inappropriateness of her actions by putting her on administrative leave.

      THAT is how the 1st Amendment works.

      The 1st Amendment is not a blanket license to say whatever you want without consequence.

      It is a guarantee that you CAN say whatever you want without THE GOVERNMENT interfering.

      That last part is the clincher.

  10. Personally, I think it was out of order what they did to her. Everyone has the right to express their own opinion. It is possible for one to not be homophobic but to still disagree with the idea of equal marriage. Don’t get me wrong, they should probably watch her more closely but I think they would of noticed by now if she was unable to do her job after 23 years.

    1. no, it is NOT “possible for one to not be homophobic but to still disagree with the idea of equal marriage”..

      If you believe that any group is less deserving of equality, then you are a bigot. In this case, believing that LGBT people are less deserving of the right to marry is homophobia.

      There is no valid justification for refusing the right to marriage to any single group of citizens.

      LGBT people are not breaking the law. Technically, it is not illegal to be gay, or to act on it. (I say this to counter any “yes, but then pedophiles and bestialists and incestuous should.. blah blah blah” arguments in return. ) LGBT pay the same taxes as anyone else. yet they have less access to basic rights. This is the fundamental flaw in refusing LGBT people the right to marriage.

      Again, there is no valid reason to refuse marriage equality.

      And refusing marriage equality DOES make one a bigot.

      1. Very well put, Mikey.

      2. I agree, there is no valid reason and it is ridculous that we don’t have equal rights but I also believe that other have the right to disagree with this. By homophobia I meant an actual hatred as I do believe it is possible to disagree with equal marriage without being hostile towards gay people, seeing them as sinners or have any bad feelings towards them all together. Now I don’t know this person’s reasoning for signing that petition, it might be out of hatred for all I know but I think she should be given the chance first.

        1. if she thought that black people should not have equal rights, she would be accused of being a racist.

          why is it that if she believes that gays should not have equality she gets a pass on being called a bigot or a homophobe?

          your reasoning is more than flawed. it is self-destructive.

          1. “Homophobia”, from what I understand, implies hatred,as opposed to “racism”refers to prejudice. “Bigot” on the other hand seems correct to use albeit a bit strong.

            But the definitions of the words are meaningless, shown by how subjective they seem to be. My initial point, regardless of semantics, is that you can oppose equality without having hatred. I don’t know if she just has the view of a “traditional marriage”, she was brought up to believe otherwise or just feels marriage belongs to the church or something else entirely, I don’t know, I am not defending her view point, I couldn’t but that does not change the fact she can be against equality, possibly believing it to not be against equality and still not have hatred.

            But if it was against race, then my opinion wouldn’t change and I would think she deserves a fair chance to explain herself and be under a watchful eye.

            One last thing, you say my reasoning is self-destructive, as I don’t see it myself, I was curious as to how.

          2. ‘Homophobia’ literally means a fear of gay people, Blondie. But it’s common meaning is broader than that, encompassing hate, yes, but also prejudice.

            Religion or belief is no excuse for prejudice. Using the example of race, people who were against interracial marriage in the US said that the Bible backed them up and they believed that they should abide by the Bible. But I doubt any of those people loved interracial marriage, then read the Bible and changed their mind. I guess they simply used the Bible to back up their own prejudices. Same goes for homophobia/prejudice against LGBT people.

            This lady IS entitled to her opinions, BUT she has a professional duty to remain neutral. It was, in my opinion, a daft thing to do (signing the petition) because she should have known that she should be seen to treat all people fairly. Signing the petition implied she might not.

            She wasn’t sacked – just suspended prior to investigation which is quite right.

          3. I agree, belief is no excuse for prejudice but your example implies that’s how they learnt of their religion. Alot of people learnt when they were taught about it growing up and at the same time taught their morals via religion.

            There are alot of different opinions out there, some just down right hate us, some love us and then there’s everything in between. As you say some misuse the bible to back up their own prejudices but others use other excuses for their (personally I believe ridiculous) views. I am not justifying them views, I’m merely suggesting that people are able to disagree with marriage equality without wanting to restrict gay people in other ways, no matter how ludicrous it sounds.

            This all said, now that I realise I made a mistake and that they are merely suspending her prior to investigation. I would say that, that is the correct response and I was mistaken with my initial statement.

          4. Hi Blondie. I mentioned religion because that’s commonly (but not always) used as an excuse for anti-gay comments. But, no matter what religion that is, I don’t believe that that’s a justified reason at all. Religion is merely belief, and I’m sure vicious racists may have deep beliefs about people of other races which ‘excuse’ their actions in their own minds, but in reality are no excuse at all.

            Unless people (religious or not) can provide a proper reason why LGBT people shouldn’t be entitled to equal marriage rights, then I find it very hard to give them the time of day. There ISN’T any real reason – just religion/beliefs, people’s misunderstandings, people’s prejudices. None of those are reasons that would hold up under scrutiny.

            People are perfectly entitled to hold those views but they are nothing more than “because I don’t like it”. I agree that some people may have grown up misunderstanding or being misinformed about LGBT people and that they shouldn’t be blamed for that…

          5. …For them, education and meeting LGBT people so that they can understand them is the answer. Many people then amend their beliefs and realise LGBT people are really no different from them and no threat at all.

            There have been some great comments on this thread. I liked the one about how this lady would feel if someone proposed to deny deaf people rights (she’s deaf herself). I don’t see comments like that as an attack on this woman – more an attempt to get her to empathise and understand.

            Thank you for replying. I hope you post more (you’ve posted before a while ago, I think, and I enjoyed ‘talking’ to you). It’s good to hear what other people think and to discuss things. :)

    2. she did a RANGE of jobs not the same job for 23 years. Equality Officers are a recent invention

  11. Her signature on that petition can be seen as a weakness in the university’s commitment to diversity.

    Is the university sincere? If a student sued with a discrimination claim, the signature of the school’s diversity officer on such a petition would heavily damage the school’s defense.

    This is especially true now that the signature is known to exist. She is toast ; the school has to protect itself.

  12. They worry that we’ll discriminate against the… people discriminating against us? Yes, that’s clearly what will happen.

    And of course, since the good Dr isn’t anti-gay, she’ll have no issue signing a petition for equal marriage and renouncing her support for the anti-gay legislation.

    1. lol, brilliant.

  13. Dave North 14 Oct 2012, 6:01pm

    If she is not “Anti Gay” then she should state her case as “PRO Marriage”

    If so then we should know!

    Did she sign petitions requesting the banning of divorce?

    Did she sign petitions requesting that unproductive couples are banned from marriage.

    This is simple bigotry and this woman has NO place as a “diversity” anything in any organization.

  14. Why on Earth does this idiot think she is entitled to a highly paid job tackling discrimination when she thinks the rights of a marginalised group should be put to the ballot? Is this her attitude to inclusiveness in general? Would she recommend a ‘ballot’ at workplaces for any complaint made about racism, homophobia and sexism to be upheld?

    There again, personal bigotry and an inflated sense of entitlement usually do go hand in hand.

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