Irish doctor with too many thoughts, too little time and a blog that's supposed to check in on reality.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Kevin Sharkey, the Late Late and Gay Civil Partnerships

Kevin Sharkey was on the Late Late talking about his planned challenge to the current ban on gay marriage/civil partnership in the European Court of Human Rights.
He should have not been on the Late Late without someone providing an alternative point of view.
Regardless of his position on the issue, it is a public policy issue and RTE are required to provide fair and balanced coverage of such issues. Interviewing one pseudo-celebrity and allowing him free rein with his opinions is not good enough.
There are legitimate concerns about civil partnerships and I'm not going to get into the rights or wrongs now (my comfy bed calls me!); but it is biased and unfair to all involved to simply allow 1 specific side of an issue prime airtime, without even a substanial question from the airbrushed Pat Kenny. Do RTE assume that we all simply agree with something because its politically correct to and want to hear a little spiel from Kevin (sure, I'm from Donegal) Sharkey just to update us on our comfortable consensus?
It's a serious issue that deserves a little more rigour.
Sarah Carey has a post on gay couples adopting that has attracted lots of opinions and is worth a read. I'm still not halfway through the 40something comments!

UPDATE - Maman Poulet has post up entitled "Who's Balance Is It Anyway?" about this. She says
I believe media outlets have a responsibility to ensure that the debate on civil partnership and lgbt rights in particular is one where lgbt’s do not have to defend their existence or right to life, and equality because of some bible bashers obsession with talking about back passages (Late Late Show 1989 and many other times subsequently.)
This is not balance when the 'other side' is one which seeks to deny rights to other individuals on the basis of hate speak (no matter how beautifully or condescendingly it is phrased).

Labelling the people on the other side of the debate is not an argument. If LGB groups want the rest of us to take this issue seriously, provide us with something more than the same rancid hatred that they claim that those disagree with them have.
Telling us that those who disagree with them are the essentially scum of the earth who make stuff up is doing a disservice to themselves.
Legislation for something which has not been legislated for before does have 2 sides and both deserve a hearing. I'm disappointed that Maman Poulet does not concede that at least.


Anonymous morgan said...

Yes, it's a shame. Even rightwing opponents of civil partnerships in the UK recognise that opposition almost universally has religious grounds.

I think that good, honest debate would be welcome, not like during the divorce referendum when we only got to hear someone like Una Bean Nic Mhathuna raging about "wife swapping sodomites" after the vote.

January 14, 2006 1:47 a.m.  
Blogger EWI said...

"wife swapping sodomites"

Is that a literal quote? Maybe someone should enquire as to how she views the faithful wife-sodomizers, or the wife-swapping non-sodomites. If what happens in the US when questions like this are raised occurs here as well, what I can say is: bring the popcorn!

January 14, 2006 4:34 a.m.  
Blogger Auds said...

That's a literal quote - she's a bit mad.

As crazy as she was, there was a debate about the nature of marriage. It's a serious issue. Expecting us to be satisfied with just hearing 1 activist unchallenged is ludricious.

January 14, 2006 10:23 a.m.  
Blogger Suzy said...

I have actually outlined the two sides that there should be in this debate - those in same sex relationships or not who do not favour legislation of their relationships and those who do.

Non gay opponents of such legislation do not deserve an equal public platform on the debate on media outlets.

It is not equality when those who are not gay are wheeled on to tell those who are how they think we should live our lives by saying that god created adam and eve not adam and steve or some other ridiculous remark.

January 14, 2006 1:09 p.m.  
Anonymous Sinéad said...

I agree with Suzy. Over the years, we have heard far too much homophobic rhetoric on Irish television when it comes to gay issues. It has had more than enough of its own platform so I don't see the problem with Kevin Sharkey speaking about an issue relevant to him.

January 15, 2006 2:57 p.m.  
Blogger Auds said...

I don't have a problem with Kevin Sharkey speaking, I just think that RTE should handle any legislative issue like that-1 side only is not enough.

January 15, 2006 4:08 p.m.  
Blogger Fence said...

The right to reply is an intrinsic part of a free society. Without two opposing sides you do not have a discussion, instead, in a way you are disciminating against the opposing side because they will not be heard.

Having said that on certain issues one side is clearly in the wrong. In a discussion about WWII would you want to listen to Nazi apologists?

LGB people are just people. Why try to create an "other" for people to oppose. People are people, if some people can get married why can't others?

January 15, 2006 4:15 p.m.  
Blogger Simon said...

I don't have a problem with Kevin Sharkey speaking, I just think that RTE should handle any legislative issue like that-1 side only is not enough.

Nail on the head it happens to many times. Everyone deserves there voice. In other words free speech and demorcarcy. Unless you want to go back to the state cencership days.

Singleing the other side out only makes them stronger. Bring them on to the TV and let them debate there side and people will see them for who they are.

That is what the Late Late always did. Gay Byrne would bring the Bishops on and make them debate there stances and people saw that they had nothing to back them up.

Just because you think someone is wrong does mean you should censor them. I'm sure many of ye think Gerry Adams is bad yet do you think the old policy of keeping him off the air in the 80s was not a popaganda coup for Sinn Fein.

We live in a Democracy everyone is allowed to have their voice. Even Nazi apologists.

January 15, 2006 9:54 p.m.  
Blogger wulfbeorn said...

As I wrote today, I think it would be far better for the RTÉ subscription - "license fee" - to be optional, so those who didn't think that RTÉ were fair and balanced could simply refuse to pay for it.

January 16, 2006 12:41 a.m.  
Blogger Simon said...

a wulfbeorn no one would pay it then but still watch it. Ireland is Ireland after all. We will dodge anything

January 17, 2006 12:34 a.m.  
Blogger Sarah said...

I agree with you Auds. What was most astonishing about the row over on GUBU about gay adoption was how very aggressive some gay (men) got. No one is saying that right-wing fundamentalists should have a platform to say hateful things about minorities, but sometimes giving them that platform exposes their stupidity. As for those in the middle we are entitled to hear all sides of an argument and make our minds up. Personally I am in favour of gay civil marriage (and post GUBU discussion in favour of gay adoption) but I absolutely cannot bear the liberal intolerance that considers itself superior to conservative intolerance.

January 18, 2006 1:37 p.m.  
Blogger fastlad said...

Why were you surprised that your Uterine Tyranny post offended people?

January 20, 2006 9:59 p.m.  

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