Ministers who back same-sex marriage announce rallies for disciplined Gallaudet employee


Rev. Delman Coates, the pastor at Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Prince George’s County, is starring in television ads supportive of same-sex marriage in Maryland. (Sarah L. Voisin/THE WASHINGTON POST)
October 22, 2012

Two ministers starring in television ads supportive of same-sex marriage in Maryland announced Monday that they will lead weekly protest rallies on behalf of the Gallaudet University employee put on leave after taking part in a petition drive led by same-sex marriage opponents.

Rev. Delman Coates of Prince George’s County and Rev. Donte Hickman of Baltimore, who are among the most visible backers of Question 6, said in a statement that it is “unacceptable” that Angela McCaskill, the chief diversity officer at Gallaudet, was disciplined “for merely exercising her right as a citizen in our democracy.”

Question 6, which asks voters whether they want to uphold Maryland’s law allowing gay unions, was put on the Nov. 6 ballot as a result of the petition that McCaskill and tens of thousands of other Maryland voters signed.

“True diversity is about living in a society and working in an environment where people of all backgrounds, opinions, and perspectives are tolerated and made to feel safe, not just those who agree with your perspective,” Coates and Hickman said in the statement.

The episode at the university for the deaf and hard of hearing in the District has become continuing fodder in the debate over Question 6, with opponents arguing it highlights the kind of intolerance that could result from legalizing same-sex marriage.

Both sides have now aired television ads addressing the controversy, with supporters and opponents alike calling on Gallaudet to reinstate McCaskill.

The first of the rallies organized by Coates and Hickman is scheduled for noon Thursday outside Gallaudet. The pair said they will “urge university officials to take all corrective measures to restore [McCaskill] to her position.”

John Wagner has covered Maryland government and politics for The Post since 2004.
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