The new pitchfork politics

Even though Maryland’s gay-marriage supporters won, some of them were not exactly magnanimous. McCaskill’s signature on the petition became public when the Washington Blade posted a database online “outing” all those who had signed it. Even though her signature indicated only that she wanted the decision on gay marriage to be made by the people and not by the legislature and the governor, her critics declared it showed “bias” on her part. She was placed on administrative leave by Gallaudet University’s president, T. Alan Hurwitz. In a statement announcing her leave, he wrote, “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.” Just the year before, Hurwitz had praised McCaskill as “a longtime devoted advocate of social justice and equity causes.”

The uproar over her being punished for private political views resulted in her reinstatement three months later. But she quickly found things weren’t the same. Her pre-controversy title had been “Deputy to the President and Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer.” When she returned to her office, she came back only as Chief Diversity Officer, with reduced authority. She has since filed a lawsuit against the university alleging that it violated anti-discrimination laws.

Nor is McCaskill the only heretic to have run afoul of the PC Police. After Proposition 8’s passage in 2008 (it has since been invalidated by the courts), Scott Eckern, artistic director of the California Musical Theater, the state’s largest nonprofit performing-arts company, was forced to resign after gay-marriage activists learned that he had donated $1,000 to the Prop 8 campaign. Similarly, Los Angeles Film Festival director Richard Raddon was forced to step down after his donation of $1,500 to Prop 8 was made public.

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