A couple of weeks ago (before the mid semester break where I unashamedly did nothing uni related), a group of us aired a radio programme for our Advanced Broadcast Journalism unit (check out the hashtag – but ignore the non-journalism tweets).

Our focus was on the gay marriage debate, in light of the pending territory amendment bill (in which territories will essentially be given the same amount of power as the states, and could pave the way for the legalisation of gay marriage in the ACT).

I was executive producer of our group, and I must admit, I became a little obsessed with the programme. Perhaps I liked my taste of power – having the final say in what went into the programme and what didn’t, being ruthless with time restrictions (constantly asking if the others could edit down their packages just a bit more) and perhaps just generally letting my inner control freak come out.

Putting in the hours creating the programme (NB: not an entirely accurate illustration)

I was genuinely excited about our line-up of talent: we had George Williams, a UNSW law professor who actually spoke at the senate hearing the day before we did our interview package with him; Renata Grossi from ANU, who is undertaking a PhD which looks at the relationship between love and the law, Evan Cooper from the Commitment Project, Nick Jensen from the Australian Christian Lobby and Shane Rattenbury from the ACT Greens! This included a live discussion/debate with Nick Jensen and Shane Rattenbury about the issue.

We covered the legislation on the issue, the culture of marriage itself and its change over time, and we also spoke to two couples on the road to matrimony – one couple is straight, the other is a gay couple, looking at a comparison of views and ideas about marriage itself, and their preparations for the big day.

(I should say here that I want to upload the audio file of the programme so you can listen for yourself, but I haven’t yet figured it out yet… watch this space).

Anyway, my point actually wasn’t to shamelessly plug the radio programme (too late now), but was to reflect on the whole process. Let’s just say I became a little obsessed in the week and a half leading up to the airing of the show. It was all I thought about.

I was determined for the show to be as balanced and interesting as possible, as well as making sure everything SOUNDED right. I stayed up until the early hours of the morning writing scripts, researching the opinions of our live talents and making sure everything would be ready to go by recording time.

And now, all I can think about is doing a follow up programme (because I didn’t get enough stress out of the first one, obviously). I felt like we gave a good overall examination of the issue, but unfortunately because of time constraints, we had to wrap it up just as the debate started to get interesting. To me, the main reason there is such debate over the issue is people’s individual takes on ‘marriage’. To some, it is as it is in the Australian legislation – between a man and a woman. But to others, it’s a union of two people who love each other. In discussing the issue with various friends and acquaintances, I discovered that there was a number of those against gay marriage, but were fine with a ‘civil union’ for same sex couples. So I started to wonder, is it mainly the word ‘marriage’ that is the issue?

‘Marriage’ has so many different connotations, depending on who you talk to. Just before we had to cut the discussion short, Nick Jensen from the Australian Christian Lobby had said same sex couples should be allowed to make a commitment to each other, but not through marriage, which could have turned into an interesting debate.

Perhaps a project for the long winter break perhaps?

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