On March 26th, 2013 the Supreme Court will begin deliberation on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, both addressing the legality of recognizing same-sex marriages and the rights that come with it. As a Muslim I am an ally of LGBTQ rights including that of marriage equality, not just from the premises of secular law but Islamically. I am unapologetic about it, and here's why.
Islam emphasizes compassion. "In the name of God the most Gracious, the Compassionate," is a phrase before every verse in the Quran. As Muslims we are taught to utter these words before any action, before we drive, eat, and speak. The problem for many of us is, we don't mean it. We utter those words out of pure habit without reflection or conviction. What is the conviction? If God can be the most gracious and compassionate then why can't we human beings do the same? Why are we the judge and prosecutor of God's creation, in this case, our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters? If we call ourselves Muslims, we need to practice compassion.
Marriage in Islam is simply a contract between two consenting adults. The stipulation is that they must be mature enough to make that decision, of sound mind, and not coerced into marriage. It is not gender specific, nor is it stipulated to be between a man and a woman. Instead, the Quran 24:32: "AND [you ought to] marry the single from among you... ", clearly highlights marriage has to be between single individuals, regardless of gender.
Too often Muslim talking-heads claim, "Islam means peace." Well how exactly is peace defined or attained? Peace can only be obtained by way of justice. Justice is a universal right and it cannot be selectively applied.
Being gay is not a life-style choice; it is not a 'preference' as some claim. In support of same-sex and interfaith marriages, I and others in my community have been offering Islamic marriage services for such couples regardless of States or Federal statutes because it is the just thing to do.
Marriage in our society comes with privileges beyond the "I do." Attached to a marriage license are social and financial benefits which, in America, only apply to heterosexual marriages. How does this skewed and biased law promoting the superior status of heterosexual-only marriage equate to justice?
Finally, regardless of whether any individual agrees or disagrees with the religious acceptance of homosexuality, America is about justice for all. If you consider yourself a proud American, then same-sex marriage is a no brainer.
This March 26th many interfaith communities including Muslims for Progressive Values will be participating in a service Prayer for Love and Justice. So come join us in celebration of love with an interfaith choir and in support of justice for all.
Simply put, marriage equality is Islamic and American.