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FIRST-PERSON: The silencing of supporters of traditional marriage

ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP) — “Don’t ask, don’t tell” was a policy employed by the U.S. armed forces. Military officials were instructed not to inquire concerning a serviceperson’s sexual preference and, in turn, the serviceperson was expected to keep his or her sexuality private. In other words, everyone was expected to keep their mouths shut when it came to homosexuality.

Homosexual activists, and some liberals, decried the practice of “don’t ask, don’t tell” as un-American, and President Obama signed a repeal of it in 2010. However, a variation of the practice seems to be reemerging in a different form, and it is liberals who are now employing what they once deemed “un-American.”

Angela McCaskill, longtime chief diversity officer at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., has been placed on administrative leave because she signed a petition calling for voters to have a say on Maryland’s gay marriage law.

Proponents of traditional marriage gathered enough signatures to place a referendum, Question 6, on the November ballot. Question 6 asks voters whether they are “for” or “against” the new law, which is set to take effect Jan. 1. McCaskill was one of the approximately 160,000 Maryland citizens who signed the petition, but when her employer learned she had signed it, she was immediately placed on paid administrative leave.

This is what Gallaudet University President T. Alan Hurwitz said:

“It recently came to my attention that Dr. McCaskill has participated in a legislative initiative that some feel is inappropriate for an individual serving as Chief Diversity Officer; however, other individuals feel differently. I will use the extended time while she is on administrative leave to determine the appropriate next steps taking into consideration the duties of this position at the university. In the meantime an interim Chief Diversity Officer will be announced in the near future.”

Signing a petition as a private citizen is an act of inappropriate legislative initiative? It would be one thing if McCaskill was campaigning for Question 6 while wearing Gallaudet regalia or using the school’s letterhead. In that case, disciplinary action could well be in order. However, all she did was sign a petition.

It seems that some now want to apply the principle of “don’t ask, don’t tell” to the subject of gay marriage: If you are in academia or a part of the government and you are opposed to gay marriage, then you better keep your mouth shut.

It is worth noting that McCaskill was the first deaf black woman to receive a Ph.D. from Gallaudet University, which is a private college and was established specifically for the education of deaf students. She has served her alma mater with distinction as a teacher and administrator for 23 years. However, because she signed a petition based on the conviction that the state should only recognize a marriage that is between and man and woman, she has been disciplined and could lose her job.

To be clear, Gallaudet is a private institution and, as such, can impose any employee guidelines it so chooses. That said, I believe McCaskill’s situation is sobering and instructive.

I have maintained for a long time that the goal of many homosexual activists in seeking so-called marriage equality is not an egalitarian live-and-let-live utopia, but rather it is to silence those who believe homosexuality is morally and biologically aberrant.

There are many who believe it is only a matter of time before the government begins to curtail opposition to homosexuality. If and when it does, you can be sure it will be under the guise of doing what is right for society.

“This is just a microcosm of a really larger problem that I’m seeing across the country — Christians who want to engage in their religious belief and express their views are being punished,” Robert Muise, an attorney with the American Freedom Law Center, told CitizenLink.

Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, said McCaskill’s case should serve as a warning of what will come if gay marriage is legalized.

“No one is safe when marriage is redefined,” Brown wrote in an email to supporters. “The architects of same-sex marriage are bent on silencing and firing those who oppose their agenda. The irony of a university putting its own chief diversity officer on leave — a woman who by all accounts has served the institution with distinction for over two decades — simply because she chose to exercise her rights as a citizen, cannot be ignored.”

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” was un-American according to homosexual activists when it was used in the military and applied to homosexual behavior. However, when it comes to opposition to gay marriage, its application appears to be perfectly fine with those same activists. America has been warned.
Kelly Boggs is a weekly columnist for Baptist Press, director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention’s office of public affairs, and editor of the Baptist Message, www.baptistmessage.com , newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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  • Kelly Boggs