Same-sex marriage

By: Bayynat editor

A Pew Forum research analysis provides an overview of the same-sex marriage debate and examines public opinion and view on the issue.

Most supporters of same-sex marriage contend that gay and lesbian couples should be treated no differently than their heterosexual counterparts and that they should be able to marry like anyone else. Beyond wanting to uphold the legal principles of nondiscrimination and equal treatment, supporters say there are very practical reasons behind the fight for what they call “marriage equality.” They point out, for instance, that same-sex couples, who have been together for years, if not decades, often find themselves without the basic rights and privileges that are currently enjoyed by heterosexual couples who legally marry - from the sharing of health and pension benefits to hospital visitation rights.

Most social conservatives and others who oppose same-sex marriage argue that marriage between a man and a woman is the bedrock of a healthy society because it leads to stable families and, ultimately, to children who grow up to be productive adults. Allowing gay and lesbian couples to wed, they contend, will radically redefine marriage and further weaken it at a time when the institution is already in serious trouble due to high divorce rates and a significant and growing number of out-of-wedlock births. Moreover, many predict that giving gay couples the right to marry will ultimately lead to granting people in polygamous and other nontraditional relationships the right to marry as well.

In recent years, the debate has moved beyond questions of individual rights and proper family formation to include questions that pit religious liberty against non-discrimination policies. While all laws legalizing same-sex marriage contain some conscience protections allowing churches and other religious groups to refuse to marry gay and lesbian couples, the legal ground is murkier for religiously affiliated organizations, such as hospitals, schools and other social-service providers, that may not want to grant benefits to the spouse of an employee in a same-sex marriage or provide adoption and other services to a gay or lesbian couple that are routinely provided to heterosexual couples.  

The American religious community is deeply divided over the issue of same-sex marriage. The Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and many evangelical Christian groups, such as the Southern Baptist Convention, have played a leading role in public opposition to gay marriage. On the other side, the Reform and Conservative Jewish movements now accept same-sex marriage - as do a number of liberal Christian churches, such as the United Church of Christ.

Meanwhile, mainline Protestant churches are wrestling with whether to ordain gay clergy and perform same-sex wedding ceremonies. Indeed, the ordination and marriage of gay persons has been a growing wedge between the socially liberal and conservative wings of the Episcopal, Lutheran and Presbyterian churches, leading some conservative congregations - and even whole dioceses - to break away from their national churches as they become more open to gay clergy and gay marriage. 

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops opposes same-sex marriage on the ground that "marriage is a faithful, exclusive and lifelong union between one man and one woman." In 2003, the conference stated that "what are called 'homosexual unions' [cannot be given the status of marriage] because they do not express full human complementarity and because they are inherently non- procreative." In 2006, the conference reaffirmed its previously stated support for a federal marriage amendment (a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman). And in 2009, the conference issued a pastoral letter on marriage that once again defined the institution as a “bond between one man and one woman.”

Mormon theology stipulates that "marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God." As a result, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not endorse same-sex marriage.

It goes without saying that same-sex marriage contradicts with the innate nature Allah created man with and that characterized the entire history of mankind. Married gay couples cannot produce children, and in most cases, the alternative is adoption. Thus, the states that seek to facilitating and legalizing same-sex marriage under the pretext of the freedom of man and that deem themselves advanced and civilized ought to make use of its progress in what benefits man and preserves his dignity and not in what could destroy his entity and entire existence.

As for homosexuality, His Eminence, the late Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra), says: “Homosexuality is the sexual act represented by lesbianism or sodomy and that is linked sometimes to disinclining to a partner of a different sex and strongly inclining towards a partner of the same sex. This is one of the big sins and forbidden acts, whose punishment, according to our Shariah, could reach the level of killing. Moreover, regardless of its psychological reasons, our purified Shariah law does not allow the Mukallaf to commit it, knowing that this stand is clearly mentioned in the Quran and the noble Sunnah, for Allah says: “And who guard their private parts, except before their mates or those whom their right hands possess, for they surely are not blamable but whoever seeks to go beyond that, these are they that exceed the limits.” (23:05-07). If the aware man looks into the matter, he will realize that Allah rendered the sexual relation a natural process that satiates both the man’s and the woman’s needs, instinctively and emotionally. Moreover, homosexual relations lead to dangerous health issues and diseases… it is interesting that it has been connoted in modern times as sexual “perversion”, which clearly denotes that it does not conform with man’s innate nature.

[… the Jurisprudential Issues, p: 362]

As for adoption that His Eminence (ra) considers as impermissible for it does not entail any sense of legitimate parenthood, he says: “Adoption is impermissible in Islam; however, it is permissible to look after the orphans, attend to their affairs and support them financially, while observing the legal limits. As for adoption in the sense of taking an orphan as one’s own child; a child who inherits from his parents and they inherit from him and who is allowed to see what a stranger is usually not allowed to see and other issues that govern the parents-children relation, it is impermissible, for Allah says: “nor has He made your adopted sons your sons.” (33:04).

[A religious inquiry]