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Day: May 20, 2013

Equal Marriage is a baby step towards a Utopian society.

So MPs are currently discussing Equal Marriage and as is custom for MPs they have differing views. Some more extreme than other. Some think that this is just a starting point for something more in a sinister way and some are just flat out barmy. Happily many others are more middle of the road and don’t think that same sex marriage is the first strep to gay people taking over the world and enslaving and discriminating against straight folk.

A lot of this debate is revolving around what teachers should and shouldn’t be allowed to teach. If same-sex marriage goes against a teachers religion then should they be allowed to not teach it? Now last time I looked I’m pretty sure some science teachers come from strong religious backgrounds. A lot of science flies in the face of religion. Just start at the fact God created the Earth. There is a thing called the Big Bang Theory that is now widely believed to have been the way the universe was created and teachers if religious backgrounds teach this. How about the whole Adam and Eve thing and the fact that genetics has shown that human life developed in six separate places across the Earth. Are there five other Adam’s and Eve’s that they just couldn’t be bothered to write about in the bible? I doubt it somewhat.

Teachers are not employed to pass on their own personal opinions to the children they teach. They go into teaching to help young people understand either a subject or an overall view of the world. Minds are never as impressionable as they are when they are young. If a teacher disagrees with a topic they have to teach then they have to just put their personal beliefs to one side and teach the subject as it written. If a teacher teaches that homosexuality is wrong in their opinion then I fear they are not doing their job of teaching young minds about the world with open eyes.

I am positive that some teachers will struggle to teach something that goes against their fundamental beliefs and I can understand why it might be problematic. However that pales into insignificance when I look at how parents entrust teachers to bring up their children according to the curriculum provided.

If a teacher had a gay child in his or her class (which pretty much every teacher has in every single class if you look at the odds) and said teacher tells the class that homosexuality and same-sex marriage is wrong then how is that child going to feel? Do teachers really think that putting a child through such turmoil is a positive? I can’t believe that any teacher in good faith would want to do that. An adult can swallow their beliefs far easier than a young person can overcome prejudice.

I have my beliefs and I don’t think it will come as any surprise that I am pro equal marriage because I am pro equality. Equality is a core principle that I live my life by. I am not religious in any way, shape or form and my views of the world are not scoped by any religious conviction. This is despise being brought up in the church and spending two years at a faith school. Marriage is a way of expressing love between two people and to pigeonhole it between a man and a woman is not helpful or equal.

The best way forward is to give young people as much information as possible and give them help and guidance as to what it all means. I truly believe that the more information young people have then the more tolerant we’ll get as a society. I don’t want any young person to not be able to fully explore who they are because they feel that they are not ‘normal’ or ‘wrong’ or anything of that ilk. Exploring who we are is one of the most vital parts of the journey we all face of being a human being.

If someone has religious views that are opposed to equal marriage then I have no issue with that. That is their right and freedom as long as they do not actively force that views on to others. When it comes to teachers then they have a decision to make. Do they want to teach children about all different aspects of humanity and thus allowing children to understand the differences that we all have but that ultimately we are all human or do they just want to teach them about the parts of humanity they agree with? If it is the latter then that isn’t the type of person I’d want my (non-existent) children to be taught by.

Last point is this. Love is the hardest thing I think humans have to find. You love your offspring and in turn you love your parents but when it comes to love is the romantic sense so many people struggle to find true love. I’m 29 and I haven’t got even close to finding love – not even close – and yet if I were to love a member of my same sex I’d struggle in the knowledge that some members of society didn’t see that love as worthy of being of equal value to if I loved a woman (No mum, before you ask, this isn’t me coming out, still going down the female path…)

I think if two people love each other then there should be no boundaries that show that one set of love is worth more than the other in the eyes of both society and legally. To me it is pretty simple. As for how teachers or members of the clergy should deal with it then I think with teachers it is open and shut. They are not employed or paid to put their own opinions on to their students. If they disagree then teach the kids and say nothing bad about homosexuality or equal marriage. As for members of the clergy then things are different. The ‘sanctity’ of marriage being between a man and a woman is something important but so is not cheating on your partner and that happens all too often in marriages.

I hope equality wins out. I desperately believe that equal marriage and the teaching of all ways of life and love is vital to healing our society. Equal marriage might be crushing the older generations but as a race we need to become more open and tolerant to other ways of life and love and I genuinely believe that this is a big step for that. If the next generations are actively taught that homosexuality isn’t wrong but not just that – is actively fine and welcome in society – then I think we’ll go a long way to leaving a great legacy for the next generations to build on.

That Utopian society is a long way off but this is a baby step that could turn into a giant stride towards that idealistic goal.

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Thank you Mark Halsey for both being inspiring and for being a darn good referee

In 2009 the Premier League returned and Mark Halsey refereed at Goodison Park on the opening Saturday of the season. Nothing interesting here despite the 6-1 scoreline to the visitors Arsenal but the referee that day had just been given some pretty horrendous news. Mark Halsey had been diagnosed with a Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and had a cancerous tumour in his throat. This was removed and the battle started not only to return to full health but to also to return to his previous career of a full-time professional football referee.

He would do so and would referee for two more complete seasons as well as the end of the 09/10 season before announcing his retirement a couple of weeks back. Speaking yesterday after his final game the 52 year-old said the following:

‘It’s been a fantastic career for me, with ups and downs.

‘I have had three great years since I have come back from my illness and hopefully I have been an inspiration for all those men, women and children out there living with cancer, and shown them we can beat this, that we can get back out there.

‘Hopefully I have done a lot for them.’

What I have to say to Mark is that anyone who survives just an illness and returns to their profession in full health is an inspiration – certainly one that involves such a level of physical fitness. His performances on the field of play have (for me) still at in the upper echelons of Select Group referees and no doubt had he wanted to continue then he would have had another year (at least) in him. However he has decided to move on to a rather interesting new position.

As a long time fan of the NFL I have seen both FOX and latterly ESPN have had an expert that can use to talk about decisions of the referee in charge of a game. Mike Pereira and Gerry Austin have been these two gentlemen and it has added an extra insight and level of broadcasting a game. Mark Halsey will be providing this role for BT Sport when they take over one third of the Premier League TV rights next season as well as FA Cup for at least the 13/14 season.

On British TV we aren’t used to this so it will be interesting to see how BT Sport use Halsey and if the public like it. It has worked great in the States on the NFL so I see no reason why it wouldn’t work well in football over here. I’m excited for Mark that he has such an interesting job to go to but still a bit sad that a good referee has decided to leave the Select Group and the sport.

Graham Poll thought he should retire because he was getting old and didn’t see Wigan’s Callum McManaman’s horror tackle in the match against Newcastle earlier this season. Now I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure referees don’t have x-ray vision and if a player runs in front of you at the crucial moment and you are blinded then what can you do? I’m positive Graham Poll would have got it spot on as he never made a mistake. Honest guv…

One last thing on why I think Halsey was a good referee. He had played the game at a non-league level so understood the game. I have always said that bringing through referees who have played either at semi-pro or low league level can only improve the game. One of the best referees I’ve ever seen was Steve Baines who had played professionally at Chesterfield amongst others and always had the lowest rate of yellow cards in the football league but his games were always handled professionally and the players seemed to react well to his style of officiating.

So from me it is thank you and good luck to Mark Halsey. I shall miss you in the middle but your insight in the commentary box should hopefully take football coverage to the next level.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.