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From the editor: Agreeing to disagree

My sexuality is a defining and interesting part of who I am. It is more of who I am than my love for Chinese food and every song every written and sung by Bright Eyes. Who I love and who I want to love me define more of my every day life than what clothes I wear, where I work and what movies I like to watch. We all have opinions about what every day choices we make; paper or plastic, fries or onion rings, Star Wars or Star Trek. We can all agree to disagree on many of those factors. My love for crab Rangoon does not define who I am as a person and while it can make for a tasty treat, it is not a part of me. Recently, Peter Vidmar, a member of the Mormon Church, was publicly pressured by openly-gay athletes and their supporters to step down as the head of the 2012 Olympic team. Vidmar was a gold medal-winning gymnast in the ’90s and has been involved with the games, in one way or another, ever since. However, he publicly supported California’s ban on same-sex marriage in 2008 and has spoken out at rallies for keeping marriage between one man and one woman. Olympic Skater Johnny Weir and others felt Vidmar’s attitude and actions did not reflect the vision of inclusion and openness that is fostered during the Olympics. After mounting pressure from people reflecting Weir’s opinion, Vidmar stepped down from his position. In an editorial, the Mormon-owned Deseret News calls for a measure of civility and poise and said the Olympic committee should ask Vidmar to return. The editorial asked if we were willing to “agree to disagree” about Vidmar’s position and outspokenness toward gay people. The editorial said: “Agreeing to disagree acknowledges that within a free society, different fundamental beliefs and interests will arise, but the inevitable disagreements that might result from such differences can be addressed and resolved according to well-understood norms, procedures and rules.” The editorial implies that the procedures and rules that were followed during the issue were not the norm. The editorial suggests that supporting discrimination against a group of people is the norm, the procedure and the rule. It says that gays should not be able to pressure and call for people in influential positions to be responsible for their actions. I can agree to disagree on Lo Mein or fried rice at Panda Express. I can agree to disagree on whether or not Kurt Cobain was the most influential figure in pop culture in the ’90s. But I cannot agree to disagree on an issue so defining as who I love and who loves me, and I believe Weir and the other athletes who started the petitioning feel the same way. Vidmar was in a position that exemplifies inclusiveness and acceptance of all people, no matter their race, religion or who they go home to at night. By speaking out and marginalizing a group of people saying they are less than others, he does not represent that vision and he should not be returned to his position.

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