Just this evening I have been struck by two opposing stories in our National and International news. First a friend’s Facebook link lead me to watch a interview that tool place on the British institution that is ‘This Morning’ on day time television from a show on the 17th January 2013.
Presenters Phillip Schofield (otherwise known as The Silver Fox) and Holly Willoughby (Willobooby to some) interviewed the for and against representatives on the subject of ‘teaching gay marriage in schools’. The guy taking part was strongly against the recommendations that children should be educated about same sex marriage as well as what he saw as “natural” marriage between straight couples. His female counterpart for the ‘pro’ side of the argument was a mother and strongly argued for equality in society at all levels.
First, it was interesting to see interviewers display their shock and outrage at what was being argued by this man, Holly could be heard gasping so you knew her position even without seeing her face or hearing any words, I think her head was in her hands at one point! Both her and Phil challenged this guy calmly if not in neutral terms and also were able to give him chance to express his opinion. His opinion was based on ideas of naturalness and his language suggested a belief in homosexuality (as well as other issues, namely abortion) in terms of disease. He believes that ‘Gay’ is a lifestyle, one of promiscuity, a misguided choice and something to be diverted in young people. He even managed to criticise the Terrance Higgins Trust.
His opposite felt strongly that education should reflect the society it is a part of, a modern place where equality and openness are essential values to be taught to our children. She had done her homework and her challenges came to direct quotes from the literature belonging to the ‘anti’ organisation. She commented that her lifestyle (as a straight woman) did not differ much from her gay friends. The subject turned to parenting and not much of a surprise that their opinions differed on the suitability of a same sex couple in parenting children.
Interestingly no one discussed the idea of marriage in society being relevant/irrelevant in general, maybe that would have watered down what was a focused and intense coverage of the debate.
(Image from Talent from Humanity on Facebook)
Shortly after this I read a quote on my twitter feed which expressed a simple but powerful message:
Every straight person already knows everything important there is to know about a gay person’s needs and loves and lives. Just look in the mirror. We are “human before we are gay or straight. We are you.”
Then to top off the evening’s browsing a (will be tomorrow) headline from the US. Barack Obama has taken his widely watched platform at Inauguration and made a loud and clear statement about his position in relation to equality for gay people. I could hear my internet friends whooping as I did at reading his words. What a statement! It is important to say that he also highlighted the need to address equality for women, children, students and mentioned disability and immigration issues in a positive light. He also talked a lot about responsibility and action, he has a lot of the former and with any luck they’ll be enough of the latter. Read the full text here.
We can only hope for a powerful, direct, brave and people driven leader to step up here in the UK. Fingers crossed Obama can put his words into reality over the next few years and he will go down in history as more than the US’ first black president.