More on the issue of gay marriage. The Network of Sikh Organisations sent me a press release over the weekend. I can’t find a link online, so the whole thing is reproduced below. It begins:
Lord Singh, Director of the Network of Sikh Organisations, supports Anglican and Catholic Bishops in opposing Coalition’s legislation to distort the meaning of marriage.
Along with Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet, who is an advisor to the Chief Rabbi, Lord Singh accused the Coalition of launching an “assault” on religious values.
I disagree with Lord Singh on this. I think the “assault on religion” argument is invalid. It implies that religion (any religion) has a fixed and inmutable view of marriage, which they palpably do not. The definition has evolved over the centuries within religions, as well as without.
His stance also claims a primacy for religious definitions over secular society’s definitions, which doesn’t hold in the 21st Century. Why do religions to which I do not subscribe get to define “marriage” for me and my friends. Rather the secular, democratic parliament (if anyone), following society at large.
Lord Singh and the others should make clear that no Gurdwara or Mandir or Synagogue or Church will ever be compelled to perform or endorse a homosexual marriage. He and his co-dissenters know this is the case, but it is missing from their rhetoric. Not one Sikh marriage will be damaged or changed by this… though lesbian and gay Sikhs will be driven away from their faith, which is a shame.
I also think the parity between Civil partnerships and Marriage is overstated. One has an important social element, the other is merely a legalistic device. Denying gays the social recognition of their love and commitment is, to my mind, wrong – but it seems to be the precise intention of this cabal. I discuss this in the comments on this post.
Since religious communities are supposed to exist precisely to encourage strong inter-personal bonds and social stability, it’s actually odd that they choose to condemn this extension of the marriage “franchise”.