The suspension of an official whose role is to promote diversity at the nation's premier college for the deaf has sparked boisterous debate involving gay marriage, free speech and what diversity really means.
The controversy began after Angela McCaskill (pictured above), diversity officer at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., was put on paid administrative leave last week because she had signed a petition backing a referendum in neighboring Maryland that would put the state's recently passed same-sex marriage law to a popular vote.
The petition that McCaskill signed is widely seen as an effort by opponents of gay marriage to overturn the law, which was signed by Gov. Martin O'Malley in March. McCaskill, who hasn't revealed her own position on gay marriage, said she signed it to give Maryland residents a chance to vote on same-sex marriage and to spur a campus-wide dialogue on the issue.