Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Gay Marriage Debate Continues

The Media Reporting Cycle

Over a few of my past blogs, I've shared my views on gay marriage and shared with you some of the letters I've written to my elected officials. It seems over the past twelve months, from my own observations, there is barley a news cycle go by that the gay marriage debate is not mentioned in some way or another.

We have a TV current affairs show in Australia called "ABC Australia - Q&A" (Google "QANDA ABC"). The shows tag line is "Adventures in Democracy". It's a great show and generally has a political bent to it, but not always. On Monday evening, May 14th, 2012 they had Penny Wong - Federal Minister for Finance & Deregulation on the show. She and her partner have recently had a child, however I should point out Ms Wong does not flaunt her sexuality to the media, in this instance, she's a private women.

Whenever she's on QandA there are tweets across the bottom of the screen "Wong for Primeminister". She's a very cool operator, decisive, clear when she speaks and certainly has an air of authority. The challenge came in the show recently where a question from the studio audience asked one of the other panellists, from the opposition party, how his wife and children seem to be more of a family than Minister Wong's. (See the youtube video below with an excerpt from the show)

You could see he was uncomfortable with the question, his response was the usual rhetoric that a child's best chance for success was by having a mother and a father, not two mummies or two daddies. I always feel bad for the single mothers in this debate, while never mentioned, they're quietly told that their family is also not ideal.

Amongst her response, Minister Wong said "I know what my family is worth". There could be no real additional comment to that statement and as timining would have it, that was the end of the show. The media picked up on that statement as did some enterprising individuals.

You can buy t-shirts on line with the statement and I imagine mugs, coasters etc within a short period of time. While our ability to love those whom we love and to possibly marry those whom we love is the desired state of some in the gay community, for others it doesn't seem to matter.

I think most of us want the same legal rights as heterosexual couples and especially the safeguards that come with that legal position for our children, the tag of "marriage" is perhaps not as eagerly sought after. The straight folks don't seem to have done so well with the institution of marriage, divorce rates, general levels of happiness etc. Are we sure that's what we want?

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