Marriage is not about me, me, me but a bond between two people who are in love and want to show the world their commitment to each other.
This is a something the opponents of gay marriage – religious or otherwise – do not seem to grasp. It’s why gay marriage is important and necessary, so we can be equal to our heterosexual friends and companions.
As GSN has pointed out there is a big difference between marriage and civil partnership. The difference between them in the UK illustrates the discrimination and inequality, faced by same-sex couples. That’s why I welcome the vote in parliament last night, opening marriage to same-sex couples in England and Wales. The bill has other hurdles to clear, but last night’s progress was historic.
And to those who oppose equal gay and lesbian marriage, the answer is simple – if you do not like gay marriage don’t marry someone who is gay. But don’t deny me the fundamental human right to marry who I chose and love.
In the eyes of the law, marriage is not a religious institution but a civil issue. Those who get married in religious ceremonies are not legally married until they sign a register that formalizes the union in law. That’s something else religious institutions tend to forget.
In the case of the UK, religious groups that oppose gay marriage have nothing to fear. A quadruple lock has been placed in the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill and they will be able to opt-in to conducting lesbian and gay weddings if they wish but will be protected from being forced to marry people.
Religious institutions including some in my own, Islam, have expressed their concern on the redefinition of marriage, but their arguments have no basis.
In my interpretation of Islam and understanding of the Quran, homosexuality is not a sin. And, as I have also pointed out many times, during the times of the first Caliphs, Muslims did not know what to do with individuals guilty of ‘liwat’ or ‘lutiyya’. No sahabi (companion) of Muhammad could quote a saying or decision of Muhammad relating to this question.
Have religious fanatics got so obsessed with homosexuality that they have forgotten the true meaning of our religion?
Islam is a personal religion between me and Allah. It is a set of guidelines open to interpretation and I believe homosexuality is not haram (forbidden). Allah, who created all mankind, is not cruel and would not create a group that was condemned from birth.
Our religion is about peace and love, it is their duty not to persecute, not to judge. Have they forgotten that?
I do not believe being homosexual is sinful, because Islam is an interpretation of what we as Muslims need to make of our lives.
So as a Muslim am I allowed to get married? I do not see why there should be any objection to a gay Muslim marrying, as we all understand it shall not occur in a mosque or as a religious ceremony, but as an act under civil law.
If marriage is between two people in a loving relationship, and Islam does not condemn homosexuality in the Quran, there is no reason for denying gay Muslims the chance to marry.
Islam promotes family values. As such if two people, even of the same sex, are in a loving union or marriage, and they live their lives according to the guidelines set in the Quran, they are not committing a sin.
Last night all six Muslim Labour Members of Parliament (MPs) voted for same-sex marriage. By doing so they sent a positive message of support to the LGBT community. It shows how liberal, progressive Muslim values are changing.
The same cannot be said about all the Christian MPs who voted against or abstained due to their religious convictions. The islamophobes should take note.
And I believe that a gay Muslim getting married should be able to enter into a ‘nikah’, a traditional matrimonial contract.
Whilst nikahs have until now usually been the reserve of heterosexual Muslims, I am aware other gay Muslims had followed this route previously, even when they have entered a civil partnership or as an alternative to marriage.
To perform a nikah you don’t have to have an official imam, but just someone who is knowledgeable enough about the Quran to preform it.
To deny gay Muslim couples the right to a religious union goes against the teachings in the Quran.
According to Imam Daayiee Abdullah: ‘Since Islamic legal precedence does not allow same sexes to wed, Muslim societies make it a legal impossibility within Islam. But by not allowing same-sex couples to wed, there is a direct attack on the Quran’s message that each person has a mate who is their “comfort and their cloak”.’
As a gay out proud man I am entitled to equality and not to be treated as a second-class citizen. As I cannot find a justification that bars me from marrying someone of the same sex in my interpretation of my religion, Islam, the state and the law should recognize this fact and allow me this right.