Equality: the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities. That is a basic, dictionary description of the word. Yet, in the marriage debate (featuring the campaign for “marriage equality”), the media coverage on the “no” and “yes” campaigns are vastly different.
It’s no secret that the majority of mainstream news outlets have been squarely in the “yes” camp on the issue of same-sex marriage. For most, this has shone through their content – with no attempt to hide their bias.
Even more extreme, some news outlets have blatantly said they will support the “yes” side while completely ignoring arguments from the “no” side. This display of partisanship confirms much of what we have said about the mainstream media when it comes to the marriage debate.
In a brazen display of media bias this week , the editor of The Guardian, Lenore Taylor, wrote a piece detailing her thoughts on the marriage debate and listing the arguments from the ‘no’ campaign which would not be run in The Guardian. It is The Guardian’s position that none of the following consequences of redefining marriage are worthy of publication:
- Political correctness;
- Any difference between the outcomes for children of same-sex couples as compared to children raised by their biological parents; and
- anti-bullying or “safe school” campaigns, or “creeping “rainbow ideology” or “gay agenda” allegedly infiltrating the education system.”
To her credit, Taylor does acknowledge that there are questions about religious freedom still to be answered (but very quickly dismisses the concerns of people of faith as being irrelevant):
The anti-same-sex marriage lobby also argues marriage equality threatens religious “freedoms” in schools, which should be able to continue to teach that marriage should only occur between a man and a woman even if the law is changed – a curious position for organisations that would almost certainly be outraged if some other religion demanded the right to teach something contrary to the applicable law of Australia.
And these decisions about where to draw the line between religious freedom and discrimination are details, not determinants of the central question that this government is tying itself – and now also the country – in knots trying to answer.
This is, very simply, about tying just one sort of knot, answering that one straightforward question. If there was a reasonable argument to say “no”, we’d certainly discuss it. I just haven’t heard it yet.
Taylor brands all existing arguments against redefining marriage as unreasonable. Yet as we all know, there are a host of potential consequences for redefining marriage, many of which Taylor and other journalists either disregard or completely ignore.
This editor is overtly telling its readers that it will not publish any opinions which run contrary to the position of the news outlet. In effect, The Guardian Australia has admitted it is a political mouthpiece rather than a source for impartial reporting on news and current affairs. Despite this brazen show of partisanship, the article still features a call for a “one-off or monthly contribution” for its “independent journalism”.
The “yes” side wants the issue to be “settled” by making same-sex marriage legal without consulting the Australian people. And now, it seems that not only do they not want the Australian people consulted, but also they don’t want them informed. The elitism is simply extraordinary!
Why is the “yes” side so desperate to shut down the debate? Because they know that once Australians start hearing about the consequences of the redefinition of marriage, they will vote ‘no.’ So, they do their very best to stop the information getting out there at all.
No matter how much newspaper editors try to swing it, there will be consequences if marriage is redefined. Shutting down the debate is not the answer. The media and “yes” campaign can try to silence debate, but in the postal vote, they cannot stop ALL Australians from having their say on marriage.
If you haven’t already, enrol to vote and make your voice heard in the upcoming postal vote on marriage.
Read next: Join the campaign for marriage