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Hickman and Coates to lead rally supporting Gallaudet official

Two of the state's most visible supporters of Maryland's same-sex marriage law will lead weekly rallies at the Gallaudet University campus starting Thursday to urge the reinstatement Angela McCaskill, who was suspended from her job there for signing a petition to put the law on the ballot.

"It is the height of hypocrisy for an institution that claims to support individual choice and freedom of expression to deprive that freedom to someone they assume has a different opinion with respect to this policy issue,” said Delman Coates, of Mt. Enon Baptist Church in Prince George's County and Donte Hickman, of Southern Baptist Church in Baltimore in a joint statement.

The two baptist ministers have emerged as the faces of the pro-same-sex marriage campaign in Maryland because they are featured in ads supporting Question 6.

Opponents of the same-sex marriage law are using McCaskill's suspension as an example of the intolerance they say would become commonplace is same-sex marriage is approved. They are featuring her story in a television commercial.

Supporters say that her suspension is an isolated event, not the harbinger of things to come should the law pass. They also have cut a commercial addressing the episode.

McCaskill, who was the diversity officer at Gallaudet, has said that her decision to sign the petition was so Marylander's could decide the fate of the law, and does not indicate her opinion on it. She said another faculty member saw her name on an online database of petition signers, and complained to the university.

McCaskill offers a powerful example for another reason: She is African-American. Blacks are a key demographic this year on the marriage vote. Polls show they have been warming to the idea of same-sex marriage, and both sides are making strong pitches for their votes.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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