Should Marriage Be Redefined To Include Homosexuals?

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By Big Boss

I saw this posted on a Dawah website, in support of Gay marriage and interacted with the author:

”For those who choose the lgbt lifestyle their private sexual lives will not be effected wether or not some legal paper declares the marital or non marital status. So why bother with marriage?
This speaks to a very different problem than sexual intimacy. A marriage contract offers some rights and protections to the legal partner. For example, the right to visit the patient in the hospital, the right to make medical or health decisions, the right of inheritance, possibly insurance and other benefits……etc. If these rights can be provided to the lgbt without a marriage contract….then good…..but under the current legal framework, it is the marital status that gives these rights and protections. The Quran states that oppression is worse than slaughter. Islam has always been able to provide a sophisticated, nuanced understanding of the human condition. We should not become trapped in the reductionist, black and white type of thinking that prevails in the west.”

Look, if someone turned around in the U.K tomorrow and redefined citizenship to ‘include’ everyone so that immigrants and ‘everyone’ could have the same rights as citizens, then there would be an uproar about it.

You cannot redefine marriage to give people the ‘same’ rights: that assumes that they HAVE these rights in the first place (by no means established) and that there is only one way of achieving them: in this case by changing the definitional parameters of marriage (which in the West has been a religious institution for over a millennium, like it or not). Since the West vacillates between extreme persecution of certain groups (Jews, Gays) and then putting them on a pedestal and canonising them (excessive support of Israel and now a fanatical insistence of the identicality of same sex relationships with heterosexual marriage) they lack balance. You could not make that argument about citizenship at the moment but you can make it for gay marriage since at the moment immigrants are the ones with a target on their back and gays are the ‘protected’ minority (in theory not practice, as violence and hatred towards gays persist).

All those rights you mentioned are already present (for example, visiting in hospital) or can be achieved individually by other means (I can leave a will, tax laws can be changed). You see, there is a reason these rights are given to heterosexual couples, since marriage was historically considered to be an institution with a purpose i.e. to raise children. I agree marriage is now very different but it is not at all obvious that gay couples should ‘inherit’ these rights without first having some similar ‘purpose’ (or another one). There is a reason the wife inherited the husbands’ wealth in the past or he has to pay her child support etc. it is not just an arbitrary token for gays to fight over.

Frankly, this is not about getting the rights you mentioned at all, it is about asserting the identicality and universality of gay relationships vis-a-vis traditional marriage, otherwise they could have easily gained these rights in another way. They are trying to make a point, and this is a point that Muslims, Jews and Christians of an orthodox leaning will not accept, despite the fact that Muslims were the first major civilization to decriminalise homosexuality and the love we have for our gay brothers and sisters.

The whole point of religion is to provide values which are ‘absolute’, that we can take or leave but which do not fundamentally alter over time since they transcend human subjectivity. Religious people will see no utility in having ‘Divine Guidance’ of any kind if it does not even tell us stuff like ‘What is Marriage?’ etc. The gay community needs to face the fact that the Abrahamic faiths (and some others in the East) do not approve of homosexuality and would certainly not agree with the institutionalising of same sex relationships. That’s just life.

We have a balanced view on it in Islam already: do whatever you like sexually in privacy, without fear of censure whether you are straight or gay. Marriage is defined by God and there is no need for anyone other than a man & woman to have access to it nor do they get any benefit from it anyway.

Shoe horning in or forcing (albeit tactfully) a ‘recognition’ by altering the very definition of marriage without consultation with the people or a referendum etc. is just liberal extremism and another example of the West oscillating between extremes of tolerance and rejection.

Indeed, Islam is against oppression, so what about all the religious people who will feel the institution of their marriage denigrated by similitude with a gay relationship and the government asserting that it is the ‘same’? Gays will not be happy that hetro-couples may feel ‘cheapened’ by analogy with them but the feeling may still be there. If gays want their relationships to be recognised by heterosexual married couples by analogy then I suggest this should be done by consultation with heterosexual married couple and gays only. If it is to include religion then the discussion must be confined to religious married people and gays only. THAT’s making it fair, but liberals I suspect will not like the outcome, so they are in danger of oppressing people by ‘hijacking’ the institution of marriage.

Also, I for one am rather tired of Liberal voices being raised to stand up for arbitrary ‘rights’ as if they are self evident truths like the right to life (unless you happen to live in a womb) or freedom of belief etc. It is not at all evident that even heterosexuals have the ‘right’ to have their marriages recognised and indeed some forms (polyandry, polygynous) are not recognised. Some are just arbitrarily multiplying rights because they have conflated thus: Rights = unlimited personal freedom (as long as you don’t hurt anyone physically). That is one idea but by no means the most coherent. At the same time this leads people to bizzare juxtapositions of morality where a person has the ‘right’ to not help a starving child and people in certain countries can eat themselves to death while there is a famine elsewhere. No one says that there is a ‘right’ to redistribution of wealth for example or universal citizenship since these would conflict with the ultimate ‘right’ which is a hedonistic urge to ‘personal freedom’.

In short, certain rights are inalienable and others, like marriage, for both gays and hetero couples need to be JUSTIFIED. I can’t just turn up and argue for the legitimacy of a marriage between, say, four men (and why not?) and their rights to raise and adopt children etc. by analogy with ‘having the same rights as everyone else’ or worse, with racial discrimination. They are different cases and should be made individually by their supporters, not shoved down our throats in a mockery of the civil rights movement.

”big boss brings up good points—one I want to reflect on is that marriage is a contract between a male and female gender as formulated by Islamic Law. (A contract is an agreement entered into voluntarily by two parties or more with the intention of creating a legal obligation). A contract by itself has no limitation on the number of partners involved or the gender of those partners. Marriage can be understood as a social union or legal contract between people called spouses that creates kinship. Therefore, under both definitions (marraige and contract) a civil union between two people of the same sex is possible. What is NOT possible is the marriage of same sex people under Islamic law. However, under the system of Islamic law itself—non-Islamic laws were respected. Therefore, it is possible for Muslims to consider the issues of justice with regards to kinship ties through civil-unions/marriage—without compromising their religious ethico-moral obligations and beliefs.

“Look, if someone turned around in the U.K tomorrow and redefined citizenship to ‘include’ everyone so that immigrants and ‘everyone’ could have the same rights as citizens, then there would be an uproar about it”—-that there is an uproar or not is not what should determine the ethical/moral principles of justice..

If we believe that all human beings are equal, then is it right to deny some human beings their “rights” based on a label? Big Boss is right that more discussion between those who choose a heterosexual lifestyle and those who make other lifestyle choices is necessary in order to fully and properly satisfy the dmands of Justice and equality.”

In my experience, having some gay friends, I used to tell them what they wanted to hear instead of the proper Islamic position. But this does no good and is not fair to them, so I started to be more straightforward with them and they seemed to appreciate it.

I have to take you up on a few issues though: What I meant by using the analogy of citizenship is to show the partisan nature of the gay rights lobby. Gays are treated as a protected minority and can agitate for their rights in a way that is inconceivable for immigrants. This is not fair. Why do gays have a self – evident ‘right’ to marriage and immigrants don’t have a similar right to citizenship. It is not at all obvious. I actually think that the whole ‘equality’ movement has been hijacked by the gay lobby arguing for rights that they do not really even need (like marriage) simply because they want to make a point.

I agree that an uproar should not determine things, but I am saying that if immigrants were given as much ‘special treatment’ as gays then there WOULD be an uproar but there is not one about gays because I feel they are a ‘protected minority’ in the media. I may be wrong about this.

In fact I think that citizenship should be offered to all immigrants, but that is a different discussion.

Non – Islamic laws are indeed respected by Muslims and if gay partnerships were legalised that is the U.K’s right, and we understand, but we do not agree with the law nor are we made to follow this kind of law. In fact, it is understood in the U.K that not all citizens need to agree with every law (that is the definition of fascism) but to merely follow them. I might not agree with tobacco being legal, but I still follow it. That is all that most countries expect and that is fine. In fact, if I want to, I can still speak out against a law I don’t like and lobby for change (as gays did with criminalisation and now marriage) or as people do to legalise marijuana (in fact, they go too far and break the law openly and smoke it and promote it in the media, again, much as the gay lobby did. Different discussion).

The problem becomes when marriage itself is redefined to appease the gay lobby, then it becomes a wider issue because not everyone who is married is gay or agrees with widening the parameters of that institution. Civil Partnerships exist, they are already there: the problem is changing marriage to accommodate two men or two women, so I am afraid that your contractual agreement did not satisfy the gay lobby in any case so it is a moot point whether we recognise it or not.

What they were after in the first place was the redefinition of marriage and the encouragement/institutionalisation of homosexuality BY ANALOGY WITH heterosexual marriage. This I feel is a key point. As Muslims, we already recognise that Civil Partnerships exist, we don’t agree with them but respect them as we respect any law that is within reason. They Liberals now want something more: Not even just equality but identicality with marriage between a man and a woman. This cannot be done unilaterally but only by firstly defining marriage (no easy thing) and then by consultation with gays and married people. I assure you this will not happen before the passing of any such law: so the oppressed (gays) have become the oppressors and imposed their view of marriage on everyone else. This is no different to us demanding that all marriages should be ‘Islamic’ whether people believed in Islam or not. We would attempt no such thing but the militant Liberals have coerced everyone under ‘One Law For All’ (their law, naturally).

I also think that the gay lobby is hypocritical in saying it wants to make marriage ‘more inclusive’. It does not argue for polygamy to be recognised, nor the marriage of, say, six women (or more) to each other or three men to each other. Why not? Why do they want to extend marriage to gays but restrict it to a binary union?

Now, Islam: There is no way that a contract legitimising or encouraging sex between two men or two women and their rights to inheritance etc. would ever be ‘recognised’ in Islam. Whether you call it a civil union or not. Islam does not recognise the validity of a contract legitimising a gay union any more than any other union which it considers illicit. This is just the same as saying that Islam would recognise an adulterous union if you made it a ‘contract’ etc.

Muslims via the Ottomans were the first to decriminalise homosexuality in 1862. However, this does not and did not mean that they approved of the action or the intention: it was simply that it was impossible to convict anyone of a crime just for being gay. Islam does not even approve of you thinking of the same sex with lust and tells you to avoid it. There is no punishment but it is not approved of, it is prohibited, it is disliked etc. There are many things in Islam which are Haraam or prohibited but there is no censure for them (in this life), like being miserly but that does not mean that these things can be institutionalised in a contract or such.

Therefore Islam believes that gays have the same right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness as anyone else, but it does not approve of the act or the idea of homosexuality. It is not punished if not exposed, much as Islam demands extra charity from people in the Quran but if you neglect it no punishment has been proscribed. As for the right to publicly display their orientation (outside of a public debate on the issues) or to have their unions recognised or regulated by the Islamic state, this is out of the question. If non – Muslims were living in an Islamic state and wanted such unions recognised, that is a different issue and not a problem. If Muslims wanted them recognised then that would not be allowed.

Hypothetically, in an Islamic state, if there existed a religious group (let’s say some forms of Shinto, just as an example, I am sorry if I have misunderstood Shinto) in the citizenry that did allow or encourage homosexuality, then that would be their right under freedom of religion. It still would not extend to Muslims.

Further, that’s only for a religious group that demands the right to commit this openly in an Islamic state, such a group is rare enough in history: if someone agitated for the recognition under secular or atheistic principles then they would be rejected outright, as these are not considered religions and it would not come under freedom of religion as enshrined by Islam (unless their followers admitted what we all know: that atheism and secularism are faiths).

As for the rest, they could practice homosexual sex in home without any fear of exposure or censure and that is exactly the same right accorded to heterosexuals: Neither group is allowed public sex nor the right to speak about their sex acts in public. This will not make homosexuals (nor a lot of puritanical Muslims) happy but that’s how it is as far as I know.


One thought on “Should Marriage Be Redefined To Include Homosexuals?

  1. The Times We Live In.
    I can certainly ascertain the ploy of stating that homosexuals can live as they want but one has to think that we, Muslims, live in a world where we actually have to debate about these sort of things.

    I can drily remember when the absurd idea of homosexuality would have been unfathomable in Muslim discussion; who would have thought that 20 years down the path, there would Muslims stating the Islam gives LGBT rights ? ?

    Just for a moment, one would like think, ‘hold on, what ?’
    Honestly, not get emotional, but I can reluctantly foresee where by the end of the decade, incest would be decriminalized and then on dawah leaflet, you would see something similar but with incest, necrophilia or any other Paraphilia.
    (Swim with the current or sleep with the fishes.)

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