'We Stand Alongside the LGBT Community'

Duke reaffirms its position as North Carolina considers ballot measure

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:


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

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