A.M. Bhattacharyya, Hindu faith adviser of the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council: Same-sex marriage has been a subject of bitter debate in different faith traditions. The Hindu views on this subject are also divided.
Those who are in favor of homosexual marriage justify their views by pointing out that it is love that matters in a marriage. Also, marriage is a union of two souls; and soul, which is the inner divinity, has no gender.
Those who are against same-sex marriage raise the point that one of the purposes of marriage is procreation to preserve God’s most magnificent creation, the human race. Same-sex marriage is nonprocreative.
The most authoritative scriptures, Vedas, are not explicit whether homosexuality is a natural law of God or an aberration.
Let’s acknowledge the fact that homosexuality is real and is existent to a degree in every society. Therefore, we should be understanding and tolerant to such behavior. However, in my view, marriage is more than a legal document to give certain contractual rights to the partners. It is one of the holy sacraments of life.
Marriage is a sanctified union between a male and a female to pursue the four goals of life, namely, dharma (social and religious duties, holding on to moral and ethical values), artha (fulfilling the need for livelihood), kama (fulfilling the urge to procreate to preserve the generation) and moksha (ultimate union with God).
Lama Chuck Stanford, Rime Buddhist Center: Within the ancient Buddhist texts and specifically the teachings (sutras) of the Buddha there is no mention of homosexuality. Recently, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that gay marriage was ultimately one’s individual business.
Buddhism encourages practitioners to cultivate the virtues of compassion, loving kindness. It is believed that by doing so, one is better equipped to enter into an intimate, committed, loving relationship with another. Such relationships have the potential for us to grow spiritually.
From the Buddhist perspective a person’s sexual preference does not matter. What does matter is what is in your heart. Living your life with love and compassion for all beings and trying not to harm others is what is most important. As Buddhists we believe that all persons have Buddha-nature, which is the potential for all sentient beings to attain enlightenment. So on a fundamental level we are all the same, and all want love and to be happy.
While not yet recognized as legal in our state, I’ve performed gay and lesbian marriage ceremonies (civil unions). Love between two people is a beautiful thing and has the potential for both partners to grow spiritually.
A great Sufi master once said, “The only reason for two people to marry is so that they may grow closer to the sacred.” It is through the challenges and successes of a relationship that we have the opportunity to grow spiritually.
Where else but in an intimate relationship with another will we learn what life and the sacred are really about?
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