Open Letter to ‘Sikhs in England’ regarding Equal Marriage
We at Sarbat are delighted that the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act recognises our right to marry on equal terms with heterosexual couples. It is an important first step in engaging with our community on the issue of homosexuality and same sex marriage.
Advisory group ‘Sikhs in England’ have written to Gurudwaras urging them to halt all marriages, due to legalisation of same sex marriage in England and Wales. This would be an unprecedented move.
Although their views are unlikely to be acted upon by Gurudwaras, it is disappointing to see a group which claims to be acting in the interests of Sikhs, only causing harm.
It is a fact that there are many gay Sikhs and they, quite rightly, want to live a life that emulates Sikh principles. Being gay is not an obstacle to this. It never has been, and we see no reason why it should.
Sikhism is an all-encompassing religion, with the principle of equality at its very heart.
It does not speak against homosexuality, and there is nothing in the Holy Scriptures that states that marriage must be between a man and a woman.
Furthermore, discriminating against people or groups, including the gay community, would be going against Sikh teachings. Any form of prejudice is not tolerated in Sikhism. Sadly, it appears that this fundamental principle of our religion is being ignored by a minority of individuals, to the detriment of our religion. We consider ourselves to be every much as part of the Sikh community as we do of the LGBT community.
It is saddening to see a few fringe groups within the Sikh community that feel threatened enough to issue completely unwarranted statements, such as the one from ‘Sikhs in England’. It is knee-jerk response without any foundation.
Furthermore, it should be noted that, until now, ‘Sikhs in England’ have never voiced their opinion on any Sikh related matters. It is also significant that the spokesperson for ‘Sikhs in England’ is also involved in the Sikh Chaplaincy Trust – which was founded and spearheaded by Lord Singh, a vocal critic of same sex marriage. In this context, the views expressed by ‘Sikhs in England’, can only be seen to be wholly biased.
We invite ‘Sikhs in England’ to engage in dialogue with us, so that we can discuss their concerns and allay their fears.
22 July 2013