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Gallaudet Official Says Gay Marriage Petition Dispute Has Tarnished Her Reputation

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) --For the first time since she was suspended, Gallaudet University administrator Angela McCaskill speaks out. The university's chief diversity officer was placed on administrative leave last week for signing the petition to put same-sex marriage on the November ballot.

Political reporter Pat Warren reports.

The university appears to be extending an olive branch.

After nearly a week of silence, Gallaudet University's chief diversity officer talks about her suspension for signing the same-sex marriage petition.

"I exercised my rights," said McCaskill. "I felt it was important that we as the citizens of Maryland have an opportunity to vote."

Gallaudet University, the nation's leading university for the deaf, is at the center of a controversy over voters' rights and the state's same-sex marriage law.

The university president placed its chief diversity officer on administrative leave after a faculty member found Dr. McCaskill's name on the voter's list.

"I have received a number of ugly, hateful and deeply hurtful emails," McCaskill said.

Members of the Maryland General Assembly joined McCaskill on Tuesday.

"We risk our citizens deciding not to avail themselves of rights guaranteed by our constitution," said Aisha Braveboy.

The university president issued this statement: "While I expect that a resolution of this matter can be reached that will enable Dr. McCaskill to continue as our chief diversity officer, this will require that she and the university community work together to respond to the concerns that have been raised."

But McCaskill still feels she's been treated unfairly.

"They have attempted to intimidate me," she said. "They have tarnished my reputation and my 24 years of service."

Governor Martin O'Malley, the Maryland Marriage Alliance and Marylanders for Marriage Equality are calling for the immediate reinstatement of McCaskill.

McCaskill's attorney says she will meet with university officials to try to come to a resolution.

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