Events Marriage & Relationships

28th of November 2020 #SarbatSocial on Marriage Equality & the Sikh faith

Sat Sri Akal

Hello and thanks for joining our SarbatSocial for today. My name is Dharam and I am being supported by Makinder and many other sarbat volunteers for what is being billed as a great discussion event finale to 2020 – what a year ! 

I thank you all for taking the time out of your schedules to join us from all parts of the world. Something about Sarbat – Everything we do or say is keeping in with our core belief in Equality for all. 

Marriage equality is a topic we have invoked ever since we came into being in 2007. It is a topic that keeps on coming back in focus – not least with Sarbat’s involvement in drafting of laws in the UK in 2015 (and hopefully in other parts of the world in the future) but also around the impact it has on the state of how Sikh’s view themselves and their faith in a complex modern world. The world is changing everywhere around you. In a faith that proudly professes equality of humankind, why are we consistently relegated as “less than” our siblings? Many of us have felt being held to an entirely different standard.

A standard that is applied very robustly to us by our peers, our sangat and our near ones – but a standard applied only to us. The scripture makes equality absolutely clear – but yet we come across those who wish to treat us as different and quote scripture only back at us and no one else. Moral pronouncements placing sexuality into boxes of negative extremes is something that belongs in the dark ages – and in-conducive to how people live in society today. There are glimmers of hope However –  SikhRI’s report on Sikhi and Sexuality recommended that Sikh institutions must play some role in providing nonjudgemental support and resources to Sikhs of all gender identities and sexual orientations. 

While equal marriage may not be what everyone is seeking to partake in. It must be an institution available to all. Discussions about what it could be for LGBT+ folks could continue forever and some of us may get tired. But persevere we must – like history many debates tend to move from a sphere of religious influence to that of society. The same will eventually happen for marriage equality the world over. Shouldn’t we strive for the Sikh faith be ahead of the curve? In other faith groups, the pope professing support for same-sex partnerships recently was a 2020 watershed for marriage equality.

 We now want you to help us devise our next steps in our continuing journey. We ask a simple question to all of you. –What you do envision marriage equality for Sikhs to look like and how can we make this happen? 

This will be the question your breakout facilitators will be working with you on. There are some housekeeping rules we would like us all to adhere to. We know there may be a range of views on this topic and not all of us will agree with each other – and that is OK.

We do ask that we are all respectful to each other at all times and appreciate that we are in a space that affirms and honours Sikh LGBTQ+ voices and perspectives. 

Although not expected, the host and facilitators are well within their rights to remove someone if they are disrupting proceedings and being disrespectful to others.We encourage videos to be switched on for better engagement and in the spirit of good communication, but we understand if you want to keep them off to maintain privacy should you choose to do so.

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