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'We Stand Alongside the LGBT Community'
Durham, NC - Saying they "stand alongside the LGBT community in seeking a more equal world," Duke University and Duke Medicine Friday reaffirmed their "strong commitment" to "eliminate discrimination and promote equality."
"Our commitment to diversity and equality extends beyond the campus to our larger community and region," they said in a statement released by Michael Schoenfeld, Duke's vice president for public affairs and government relations.
As debate continues over Amendment One, a North Carolina ballot measure that would continue the state's prohibition of same-sex marriages, Schoenfeld said "we think it's important right now to reaffirm our own institution's commitment to diversity and tolerance, and to note the many ways in which one of the state's biggest employers supports and values the LGBT community."
Earlier Friday, Duke students and others participated in a "Vote Against Photoshoot" event at the West Union Building where their photos were taken by the Coalition to Protect All NC Families, an independent group working to defeating Amendment One.
A copy of the Duke statement follows:
Statement from Duke University and Duke Medicine
February 17, 2012
Duke University and Duke Medicine have a strong commitment to diversity in our missions of education, research and service to society. We put this goal into action by valuing all members of our community, including our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) faculty, staff, students and alumni.
More than two decades ago, Duke added "sexual orientation" to the university's nondiscrimination policy, which it later expanded to include "gender identity." Through this and other policies, and through its actions, Duke has sought to eliminate discrimination and promote equality for LGBT members of its community. The many steps it has taken include:
- Providing health insurance for same-sex spousal equivalents and families
- Extending Family Medical Leave Act benefits to LGBT families
- Extending the Duke Children's Tuition Grant Program to LGBT families
- Ensuring family facility benefits for gym and library access
- Recognizing LGBT families for institutional financial aid purposes
- Welcoming same-sex unions at the Duke Chapel and the Duke Gardens.
- Providing funding, space and support for the Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Life
We believe recognizing the families of LGBT faculty, employees and students by offering these and other benefits is essential for Duke to recruit, retain and nurture excellence in all our endeavors. In addition, our commitment to diversity and equality extends beyond the campus to our larger community and region. For example, since 2000 Duke has hosted the annual NC Pride parade and festival. It also hosted the first two Equality NC conferences and galas and sponsored the 2011 Equality Gala.
Duke University and Duke Medicine reaffirm their commitment to providing equal benefits to LGBT faculty, staff, employees and students. As a major employer in North Carolina, we are proud to serve as a model of acceptance and diversity, and we stand alongside the LGBT community in seeking a more equal world.
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