Local News

Duke Debates Performing Same-Sex Unions in Chapel

Posted September 26, 2000

— Same-sex marriages divide many religions, and they are now at the center of a debate on the Duke University campus.

Every year, more than 100 wedding ceremonies are performed at Duke Chapel, but same-sex union ceremonies are not allowed.

Duke Student Government (DSG) believes that flies in the face of the university's non-discrimination policy.

"One of the things we pride ourselves on being at this school is we have equal treatment for all students, equal opportunities for all students, and if there's a facility on this campus that's violating this policy, then something needs to be done about it," says DSG President Emily Grey.

Because same-sex marriages are not legally recognized in North Carolina, Duke Chapel considers such unions to be private ceremonies -- something their policy does not allow.

Chapel leadership says it has a long-standing tradition of inclusion for the gay community, but it says same-sex unions are a different issue -- legally and philosophically.

"It's not simply a matter of use of the facility," says Albert Mosley, assistant chapel dean. "It's a very complex theological issue. In my religious tradition, for example, we've been debating this for the last 20 years."

DSG plans to hold a rally on the issue outside of Duke Chapel next month. The group says if the chapel does not allow same-sex unions, it may petition Duke's board of trustees.

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