The chief diversity officer of a university in Washington who was put on leave after signing a petition to send the decision on equal marriage to a vote in Maryland, has said through her lawyer that all she wanted was for voters to decide on the issue.

Attorney J. Wyndal Gordon, spoke on behalf of Dr Angela McCaskill, who was put on paid administrative leave from Gallaudet University, and said that she was not “anti-gay”, that she had not expressed her personal opinion on the matter through the petition, and that she would do so at the voting booth.

Attorney Gordon had said that Dr McCaskill was seeking to be reinstated in her post at Gallaudet, as associate provost of diversity and inclusion, reported the Washington Post.

Dr McCaskill is scheduled to give a press conference on Tuesday in Annapolis.

Those on both sides of the equal marriage debate called for the university to reinstate the chief diversity officer in the name of freedom of expression, after she was put on paid leave.

A petition urging the university to reinstate the chief diversity officer, featured on the homepage of the Family Research Council website, and by noon last Friday, it had contained 15,000 signatures.

According to her biography on the Gallaudet website, Dr McCaskill was the first deaf African American female to earn a Ph.D. there, serves on the Board of Trustees of the Maryland School for the Deaf, and has a lengthy résumé of positions held at the university, where she has worked for 23 years.

The Gallaudet University Twitter page says it is “the world’s only university where programs and services are designed for deaf & hard of hearing students.”