It is true that if people of the same gender want to marry, the legal concerns carry more practical weight. Among some couples however, the religious component of the issue also matters. What does religion have to say about same sex marriage?
The three biggest religions Christianity, Islam and Judaism have traditionally been against same sex marriage. At first glance then, religious groups may seem more opposed to same sex marriage as the more flexible legislatures. That is why it may come as some surprise that certain groups no longer carry the traditional religious view. The Jewish conservative tradition, the Unitarian Universalists General Assembly and some Lutheran groups selectively support some aspects of same sex marriage.
The bigger Christian groups and the more vocal ones have made their opposition clear. The late Pope John Paul II in the Pontifical Conference of Families has made the Catholic Church’s stand on the issue clear. In his own words, “the union between man and woman is the only true one in God’s eyes.” Marriage therefore is an institution ordained by God and is the voluntary union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others for the purpose of loving and supporting each other and propagating the human race.
If the Catholic and other Christian faiths are to be understood as truly Bible/ scriptural based then it is also enough to point that the Bible has several references in Genesis, Leviticus, Corinthians and Romans which point out homosexuality as unnatural and abhorrent to God.
Proponents of same sex marriage however, seek to debunk all religious arguments stating that Biblical references have been taken out of context and thereby misunderstood. It has also been pointed out that procreation, as a point of argument is also equally moot as its legal argument counterpart since even the Catholic Church through its Humanae Vitae recognizes the necessity of family planning through natural means.
The Catholic Church has also been accused of promoting the concept of complimentarity in marriage which delineates the differences between men and women. Critics say that marriage should be about mutuality instead, in which case, couples are called to share what they have in a loving, supportive relationship.
Religion and Homosexuality
No single religion can speak for all the other religions of the world. Nonetheless, it is clear among some religions like the Catholic religion that they do not discriminate against homosexual individuals.
The Catholic Church has made it clear that they accept that homosexuality may be a natural gender inclination. Hence, homosexuals must be embraced and accepted. Homosexuality per se is not wrong. The church however, condemns homosexual acts. Homosexual acts are what are considered immoral. The Catholic Church therefore opposes same sex marriage because it presupposes that married couples engage in sexual acts.
While a religious marriage does not carry the same economic benefits as a civil marriage, its impact and significance is not lost on the devoutly spiritual. It is perhaps in the knowledge that there is a God who accepts you and supports your decisions that makes all the difference.