lifestyle

Yes, the media is biased on the issue of same sex marriage.

Anti same sex marriage advocates are complaining the media is biased – and it is. That’s what happens when the choice is truth or hate.

So, apparently the press has a bias towards same sex marriage. If you watched Media Watch or Q&A last night or have listened to the conservative commentators, we are not respecting the views of those opposed to marriage equality or giving them equal voice in the debate.

As Mamamia is part of the media pack, we would like say that this accusation is spot on. Too right we have an intractable bias towards marriage equality. And here is the reason why. Journalists deal in facts and the arguments against are simply not based in truth.

Mostly, they stem from religious conviction. Religion is something you must have faith in and faith is defined as “strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof”. When I last looked, it was not the job of the media to document “spiritual conviction” but instead to compile and deliver verified information.

Other than religious conviction, other anti marriage equality arguments appear to be based on bigotry and homophobia. Pure and simple. Old-fashioned ignorance dressed up as conviction. There is no humanitarian ground for an argument against that doesn’t have a xenophobic basis.

On last night’s ABC Q&A program, we saw what happens when both sides of the debate are discussed openly – ugly accusations, offensive comments and nonsensical arguments. It was an opportunity for those opposed to vent.

Perhaps the best example came from US author and anti same sex marriage advocate Katy Faust, who proclaimed that same sex parents are  harmful to their children. As the daughter of a gay couple, she believes she knows this as truth. Despite her belief that there is research to back up this argument, if Faust was a journalist, she would no doubt research deeper and fund innumerable studies and research which vehemently counters this argument.

Image via Q&A online
Katy Faust clashes with Labor senator Sam Dastyari on last night’s episode of Q&A. Image via ABC.
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She seems to have also conveniently ignored the fact that heterosexual couples have a one in two chance of divorcing, meaning the loss of one parent fulltime in a household with children (she believes you need one of each sex to have a happy child). Oh, and let’s not forget our current domestic violence epidemic, where more than one in three women will be physically assaulted by a current or former (male) partner. Or that an estimated one on four children has witnessed domestic violence against their mother or stepmother, or that women and girls remain the main victims of family violence, sexual violence and intimate partner homicide.

Again, these are irrefutable facts. Not bias, but accurate reporting.

Marriage Alliance on Mediawatch 720x547
Last night, Media Watch called for media equality on the issue of marriage equality. Image via ABC.

Faust also appears to have also ignored a glaring reality that being heterosexual does not make you a good parent. This writer, and I am sure many people reading right now, is the result of a heterosexual couple that did a pretty crap job of raising kids and, in hindsight, probably shouldn’t have had them in the first place. As a result, yes, their union caused emotional problems for their offspring. I’ll be the first to attest to that. Which lends to thinking that perhaps, if they had been as desirous of children as same sex couples who undertake painful and expensive procedures to conceive, they might have done a better job?

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What Faust’s unsophisticated argument is hiding is latent homophobia, something Labor’s (pro same sex marriage) Sam Daystari immediately jumped on in response to her comments. “I find it very hard to respect your views because I don’t think it comes from a place of love, I think it comes from a place of hate,” he said. “I worry that so much of your view comes from not really with an issue of marriage, but an issue with homosexuality. You have described it as a lifestyle. You have said homosexuality drives us further away from God. I’m sorry, but I think this American evangelical clap-trap is the last thing we need in our debate.”

Eric Abetz, Tony Abbott and Cory Bernardi have all expressed their opposition to marriage equality.

So, let’s get down to the real reason behind most anti same sex equality campaigners’ convictions – religion. (Not to say you can’t be religious and pro-marriage. In fact, there is an argument that you are not obeying whatever God you worship by discriminating). It is conservative and fundamentalist interpreters of religion such as our Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, who once attended a Catholic seminary with the intention of becoming a priest, who are likeliest to be anti the cause. And herein lies another reason the media is biased when it comes to reporting from religious perspectives – their teachings are not proven fact. If journalists and the media as a whole start basing arguments on “spiritual conviction” or “faith” instead of proof, then perhaps the anti same–sex lobby will have a more prominent voice.

But until then, let’s all be grateful the media does have a bias for truth. Because in this instance, the other side of the argument is hate.

Where do you stand on the issue?

Some of the Mamamia team showed there support for marrriage equality at the Equal Love rally in Melbourne on Saturday. Have a look through the images below.

Want to read more on this issue? Try these:

Richard Di Natale sums up “nonsense” of gay marriage debate in one glorious smack down.

Thousands turn out to support marriage equality at rally today.

‘Tony Abbott, you don’t know how to love your sister.’

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