Jacob Tobia was just one of many enraged activists at the Duke Against Amendment One rally last Friday that spoke against Wake County Commissioners’ recent endorsement of the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
Although same-sex marriage is already prohibited in North Carolina, the amendment would codify it in the state constitution. The West Campus Union Building is an early voting site for the primary election; students can vote—and register to vote the same day—from April 19 through May 5.
Among the bustling crowd of students, Tobia, chair of Duke Against Constitutional Discrimination (DACD) lightheartedly called them out, emphasizing the importance of this cause and how it affects both the LGBT and heterosexual communities.
“We don’t think our vote matters,” he said, “but we can’t just walk by anymore and not pay attention. We all have this wall up, and I encourage you to break this wall down.”
The rally’s objective was to raise awareness at Duke and, Tobia, said, get students, “jazzed up” about the amendment. DACD paired up with the Duke Medicine and other campus affiliates. “I never knew anybody from the medicine department,” Tobia said, “It’s great that we’re making connections.”
Sanjay Kishore, president for Duke Partnership for Service, also emphasized the importance of student and community involvement and understanding the injustice of the amendment.
“Duke won’t be able to do this alone, but we can play a part,” Kishore said. “What we’re doing right now is a ripple of hope.”
At the rally, speakers emphasized the discriminatory nature of the amendment, pointing out that marriage is a human right, not a political necessity. The government should not be meddling in marriage.
“What upsets me is that this is becoming a political thing when there is nothing political about it,” Tobia said, “How dare you infringe on my rights? On my parent’s rights?”
Pete Schork, Duke Student Government president told the crowd, “This is an intrusion to our lives by the government,” he said, “I hope and pray this amendment fails.”
Theater professor Jules Odenhall-James is married to her partner and they have a child. “Marriage will no longer be about growth,” she said, “it’ll be about loss, local government and institutions. This bill undermines the good name of the state.”
Katie Handerhan is an intern at the Independent Weekly.