Suffice it to say that there’s been a lot of buzz on Amendment One for the past few days between Duke Democrats and Duke College Republicans, especially via our respective online outlets. Let me be the first to say that I love a healthy, opinionated discourse between two groups that don’t necessarily see eye to eye, but I think sometimes everyone needs a little perspective in these situations.
Now, clearly, I’m a Democrat. This is a group with which I strongly identify and I show my support for the Democratic Party on a daily basis in one way or another. I’m not naïve, though. I know that a good percentage of this country, and of this campus, does not share my party affiliation (as evidenced by the back-and-forth between our campus organizations this week). I know that within my own party, even, not everyone shares my views on certain issues.
We’re only a few months out from the vote on Amendment One, and you’ll hear argument after argument about why you should be for or against it, and most of those will be rooted in the stated beliefs of party with which you associate. I’m here to tell you right now that the ramifications of the passage of Amendment One transcend party lines. We get so caught up in partisanship, that sometimes we forget to take a step back and remember what is important.
EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US knows someone whose life will be affected by Amendment One. This piece of legislation has a lasting impact on real people, and Elena’s articles have cited some examples of consequences of passing the amendment. So, Duke CR, if your organization isn’t ready to make a statement about LGBT issues, you conveyed in your response to Elena’s column that many of your members have strong feelings about the amendment, about gay marriage, and about equality in general.
If this is true, here is MY challenge: everyone, regardless of your party affiliation, should step outside of the umbrella of a campus political organization and take action. Do it, not because a group of politicians tells you that this is how you should feel or how you should act, but rather because YOUR family, YOUR friends, and YOUR peers are being told by their government that they do not deserve equal rights and equal protection under the law.
In my mind, that violates every principle upon which this country was founded. Whether you’re gay or straight, Republican or Democrat, something about this isn’t right. This is our opportunity to tell the government that we will not stand for this kind of intolerance and injustice. So, I say again, if Duke CR isn’t ready to make a statement, encourage your members to take action outside of the scope of your organization. At the very least, vote NO on Amendment One in May to ensure that we can continue our healthy debate about this issue in the future. And don’t be afraid to let your friends know why you voted no. Let them know you support them and love them for who they are, no matter who they love. In the end, it won’t matter who said or did what under what circumstances, it will matter that someone said or did something at all.