“Same sex couples should be able to get married”, said the President of the United States Barack Obama in an interview with the television station, ABC. Obama, speaking on 9th May in the Cabinet Room of the White House, stated: “At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married”. The Vice-President Joe Biden also declared he was in favour of same-sex marriage.
However leaders of the largest Christian Church in the world were clearly very disappointed:
US Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin (of the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island) said,
The decision of President Barack Obama to endorse same-sex marriage is extremely disappointing, but not at all surprising. This is a very divisive and devious president who, from the beginning of his administration has actively pursued a liberal, secular agenda that discards fundamental moral values including respect for human life, and religious freedom. This is a sad day in American history. Even the President of the United States does not have the authority to redefine the sacred institution of marriage that has been given to us by God.
What is the Islamic view of ‘gay marriage’? The excellent website Eye on Gay Muslims clarifies the unambiguous teaching of Islam:
‘Whatever actions are carried out in pursuit of fulfilling sexual desires must be deemed unlawful unless the proper channel is followed, i.e. marriage, which Islam defines clearly as being only with the opposite sex. We select one relevant verse to begin a short discussion of this matter:
And Allah has given you spouses (azwāj) of your own kind, and has given you, from your spouses, sons and grandsons, and has made provision of good things for you. Is it then in vanity that they believe and in the grace of Allah that they disbelieve? [16:72]
The reference to procreation is significant, as one of the aims of marriage is indeed to bring forth new generations of humans who will worship Allah. Furthermore, much could be said about the word azwāj (sing. zawj) with its linguistic and Qur’anic meaning as “the opposite part of a pair”. One of the numerous evidences in the Qur’an of zawj meaning the opposite sex, and indeed a very relevant evidence in this context, is the following proclamation of Lut (peace be on him). Here it is evident that the spouses (azwāj) of the men addressed cannot be male, and that homosexual partners cannot be considered as azwāj:
“What! Of all creatures do ye come unto the males, and leave the spouses (azwāj) your Lord created for you? Nay, you are a people exceeding limits.” [26:165-6]
From such verses, we establish that marriage is only between a man and a woman. Therefore any sexual activity between two men or between two women is by necessity outside the realms of marriage and, by extension, outside the realms of permissibility. In other words, homosexual marriage is unsupportable within the Islamic legal system, and by definition any homosexual behaviour is fornication; indeed, it may be considered a level worse, by virtue of including the additional element of sexual perversion.’