Opposing ‘same-sex’ marriage [Archives:2004/759/Opinion]

August 29 2004

By Abdulhaqq Abdullah
[email protected]
For the Yemen Times

I'd like to respond to the letter on same sex marriages by Mr Christoph Lombardo, printed in the Yemen Times (issue no 754 on Monday 12th July 2004)
Firstly his presumption that 'we all agree that one is born straight, gay or bisexual, and that one does not choose one's sexual orientation' is not only incorrect but completely misses the point. Assuming that in one blase statement Mr Christoph Lombard has solved the whole nature / nurture debate – it is of no importance. Debating whether homosexuals are born as such or are shaped by social circumstances misses the point, and either way, the logical conclusion is one that alleviates all responsibility from the individual, and implicitly depicts all homosexuals as victims. One feels obliged to exclaim out loud “ah, there, there, poor oppressed homosexual, it's not your fault you're gay and have had to suffer cruel subjugation all your life at the hands of an ignorant and bigoted world which refuses to understand your terrible plight and daily struggle for acceptance. You poor, poor oppressed – and by definition innocent – minority”. However, child molesters, rapists and insane axe murderers all have just as strong a case – surely they too were either born that way or shaped by society, in neither scenario did they 'choose' their desires or their 'way of life' – are they not also victims or members of an oppressed minority group just as deserving of our sympathy? The point is that whether one chooses it or one feels compelled, degenerate or criminal behaviour is shunned and reprimanded by society. A murderer is not absolved from blame because he hears voices in his head, rather the criminally insane are taken into care and criminals into custody precisely to protect everyone from the dangers they pose. Whether we perceive those who commit crime (or encourage criminal activity) as being victims or criminals is far less important than the fact that they commit or advocate crime.
So is homosexuality a crime? Well certainly in the West homosexuality is not a crime, on the contrary the personal and sexual freedom of homosexuals is championed and to voice disagreement with that is a terrible social faux-pas. However according the three largest monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) homosexuality is a crime. And more precisely, according to Yemeni law (by which Mr. Lombardo must surely abide whilst a resident in Yemen) homosexuality is a crime.
I myself am a Muslim, and therefore hold that homosexuality is a crime. Not because I'm a bigot, not because I have any particular prejudice against a choice of lifestyle, or because I have any particular 'phobia' or deeply hidden doubts about my own sexual identity. I understand homosexuality to be wrong because I'm a Muslim and know that Islam forbids it – just as Islam forbids theft, murder, the eating of port, any extra marital sex and many other things.
By calling for tolerance of same sex marriages Mr. Lombardo implicitly argues the irrelevance and impracticality of Islam, and the need to separate religious teaching from ruling. It is this clandestine propaganda and the effort to justify something that Islam explicitly forbade, which is really the problem. Quite honestly I don't care what sordid activities Mr. Lombardo conducts in the privacy of his bedroom, whether with animal vegetable or mineral, but when he draws public attention to himself and seeks a public nod of approval – a society of Muslims must say no. I wonder if the authorities in Yemen agree with myself or with Mr. Lombardo.