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Islam and homosexuality straight but narrow


There is a lot of misinformation about Islam in the media. A religion of Islam and homosexuality straight but narrow 1. I sometimes tell my students that Islam is Judaism Redux — bigger cast, bigger budget. Like Judaism, questions of right and wrong are conceived of more in the idiom of law than in a more abstract sense of principles.

Like Judaism, Islamic law Shariah has been developed by a clerical class that has always been more scholars than priests. Also like Judaism, the Shariah is first and foremost concerned with questions of proper worship, ritual purity, prohibited or permitted foods, sacred times and sacred places. Only then does it expand to encompass areas like contracts, property, marriage, inheritance, civil and criminal law. When looking at the issue of gay marriage, two main features of the Shariah are most pertinent.

A debate about homosexuality in...

First, the Shariah is law. It is concerned primarily with actions as opposed to emotions or wishes. Second, marriage in the Shariah is not a sacrament. Stripped of all the cultural accretions Muslims have added on, and minus the obviously crucial elements of love and companionship, marriage is nothing more than — literally — a contract between a man and a woman in which the man provides the woman with financial support in return for exclusive sexual access.

Since marriage is a contract premised on vaginal intercourse and financial "Islam and homosexuality straight but narrow" between a man and a woman, same-sex couples could not engage in one.

They could construct an arrangement for inheritance and shared property that mimicked marriage, but it would not be marriage. The focus on actions in the Shariah means that desires or inclinations have no legal substance. Indeed, it can be quite normal.

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