Ricky Martin, the well-known pop singer, is in Australia for the filming of reality TV show The Voice. Of course, while he is here, he had to give his opinion on the same-sex marriage debate in Australia.
He said the legal recognition was “not about faith, it’s not about religion, it’s about human rights. It’s about me having the opportunity to look my sons in the eye and say ‘this is my husband and this is our family.’ It’s about self esteem, it’s about dignity, it’s about respect.”
Leaving aside the fact that this is largely vacuous and doesn’t address most of the main arguments in the marriage debate, it raises the question: is it justified for the media to give celebrity endorsements of same-sex marriage such a large amount of coverage? There are numerous examples of this worldwide, ranging from actors to singers to rugby players.
Most people would think it is reasonable to report a celebrity’s contribution to the debate, but only after the substance of the debate has been sufficiently addressed.
This has not been the case in Australia, for instance, where almost no media attention has been given to concerns raised surrounding parenting, possible future redefinitions of marriage, consequences for freedom of speech and freedom of religion, amongst other issues. Some analysis of these aspects of the debate would serve the public interest better than the uncritical reporting of celebrity opinions.
If the only analysis we hear is from people like Ricky Martin, no wonder so many people think “love” and “equality” are the only issues in the debate.