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Religion and homosexuality

Though the relationship between homosexuality and religion can vary greatly across time and place, within and between different religions and sects, and regarding different forms of homosexuality and bisexuality, current authoritative bodies and doctrines of the world's largest religions generally view homosexuality negatively. This can range from quietly discouraging homosexual activity, to explicitly forbidding same-sex sexual practices among adherents and actively opposing social acceptance of homosexuality. Some teach that homosexual orientation itself is sinful, while others assert that only the sexual act is a sin. Some claim that homosexuality can be overcome through religious faith and practice. On the other hand, voices exist within each of these religions that view homosexuality more positively, and liberal religious denominations may even bless same-sex marriages. Some view same-sex love and sexuality as sacred, and a mythology of same-sex love can be found around the world.

Regardless of their position on homosexuality, many people of faith look to both sacred texts and tradition for guidance on this issue. However, the authority of various traditions or scriptural passages and the correctness of translations and interpretations may be hotly disputed
Abrahamic religions
Abrahamic religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam, traditionally forbid in history sexual relations between men and teach that such behaviour is sinful. Passages providing scriptural justification for these beliefs are found in the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13), the New Testament (Romans 1:26-27, I Timothy 1:9-10, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11) and the Qur'an (7:80-81, 26:165). The first recorded law against homosexuality is found in the holiness code of Leviticus. Within this code of laws, sexual intercourse between men is a capital offense. There are fewer references that refer to sexual acts between women[citation needed].

Today some major denominations within these religions, such as Reform Judaism and the United Church of Christ, accept homosexuality. They believe that injunctions against the sexual acts were originally intended as a means of distinguishing religious worship between Abrahamic and pagan faiths, specifically Greek (Ganymede) and Egyptian rituals that made homosexuality a religious practice and not merely human sexuality. Thus, the prohibitions are thus no longer relevant. Some Christian denominations, such as the Presbyterian and Anglican churches, now welcome members regardless of same-sex sexual practices, and perform same-sex marriages, as do Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism.

Judaism

The Torah (first five books of the Hebrew Bible) is the primary source for Jewish views on homosexuality. It states that: "[A man] shall not lie with another man as [he would] with a woman, it is a toeva ("abomination")" (Leviticus 18:22). (Like many similar commandments, the stated punishment for willful violation is the death penalty, although in practice rabbinic Judaism rid itself of the death penalty for all practical purposes 2,000 years ago.)

Rabbinic Jewish tradition understands this verse to specifically prohibit a man from having anal sex with another man. Rabbinic works ban lesbian sex as well. What people today describe as psychological or biological homosexual inclination is not discussed among classical rabbis. The sources only discuss specific same-sex acts and not the modern concepts of homosexual identities/relationships.

Orthodox Judaism views homosexuality as sinful. Many Orthodox Jews view homosexuality as a choice; some sources claim it to be a deliberate deviance. The majority view is to consider all homosexual activity as an abomination (as per Leviticus 20:12-14). A trend of studying the issue of homosexuality has recently begun to occur, with a view towards understanding and reaching out to religious homosexual Jews. It is common practise amongst Orthodox Jews to encourage young Jews known to be gay to marry (someone of the opposite sex) in the hope that this will "cure" them. Many Rabbis and community leaders have condemned this as potentially cruel to both spouses.

Conservative Judaism has engaged in an in-depth study of homosexuality since the 1990s with various rabbis presenting a wide array of responsa (papers with legal arguments) for communal consideration. The official position of the movement is to welcome homosexual Jews into their synagogues, and also campaign against any discrimination in civil law and public society, but also to uphold a ban on homosexual sex as a religious requirement. However, a recent split decision of the movement's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, in January 2007, has significantly reinterpreted the issue, and now allows gay men and lesbians to become rabbis or cantors. Some form of commitment ceremony is now also viewed as legitimate. Conservative rabbis who voted on this change used the issue of Kavod HaBriyot, honoring a person's dignity, as honor for someone's rights may override rabbinic restrictions. See Conservative Halakha for a full discussion.

Progressive forms of Judaism, including Reform Judaism and Reconstructionist Judaism in North America and Liberal Judaism in the United Kingdom, view homosexuality to be acceptable on the same basis as heterosexuality. Progressive Jewish authorities believe either that traditional laws against homosexuality are no longer binding or that they are subject to changes that reflect a new understanding of human sexuality. Some of these authorities rely on modern biblical scholarship suggesting that the prohibition in the Torah was intended to ban coercive or ritualized homosexual sex, such as those practices ascribed to Egyptian and Canaanite fertility cults and temple prostitution.


Christianity

The Catholic Church and, later, Protestant authorities have traditionally condemnned same-sex sexual relations, namely, "man lying with man as one lies with a woman" and men "burning with lust toward one another." Where the Catholic view is founded on a natural law argument informed by scripture, the Protestant view is based more directly upon scripture. Certain scriptures within the Bible, as in Leviticus, declare same-sex sexual relations between men as sinful and, in the eyes of God, an "abomination". In the Epistle to the Romans, Paul describes “men, leaving the natural use of the woman, [burning] in their lust one toward another” as a consequence or punishment for the sin of idolatry.

Denunciation of homosexuality is also seen in surviving early Christian writings; such as in the Didache and the writings of Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, St. Cyprian, Eusebius, St. Basil the Great, St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine of Hippo, and in doctrinal sources such as the Apostolic Constitutions — for example, Eusebius of Caesarea's statement which condemns "the union of women with women and men with men.” Many prominent Christian theologians have been critical of homosexuality throughout the religion's history. Thomas Aquinas denounced sodomy as second only to bestiality as the worst of all sexual sins, and Hildegard of Bingen's book Scivias, which was officially approved by Pope Eugene III, condemned sexual relations between women as "perverted forms."

In the 20th and 21st century, a few historians and theologians have challenged the traditional understanding and argue that passages have been mistranslated or that they do not refer to what we understand as “homosexuality.”[1]

The Roman Catholic Church, on the other hand, affirms early Christian teachings on homosexuality: "Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that 'homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.' They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved." [2]

The Catholic Church requires people struggling with homosexuality to practice chastity, which is also required of every heterosexual man and woman. It insists that the only appropriate expression of sexuality is within the context of marriage, which by definition is permanent, procreative, heterosexual, and monogamous. The Church acknowledges that homosexuality can be "a trial" and stresses that people with such tendencies "must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity."[3] In reference to the possible ordination of homosexuals to the priesthood, distinguishing between "deep-seated homosexual tendencies" and those that are "only the expression of a transitory problem", the Vatican requires that any homosexual tendencies "must be clearly overcome at least three years before ordination to the diaconate."[4]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints makes clear that same-gender attraction is not sinful and no one should be blamed for it, but that a few people have been able to overcome it.[5] However, it considers homoerotic thoughts, feelings and behaviors to be a problem that everyone can and should overcome.[6] Homosexual activity is considered a serious sin on par or greater than other sexual activity outside of a legal, heterosexual marriage and those involved may be excommunicated.[5]

While same-sex sexual behavior is rejected to the present day by many Christian denominations, contemporary Catholic guides to pastoral care reflect an ethos informed by compassion and respect of the sanctity of other.[7]

A few Christian denominations do not condemn homosexual acts as bad or evil. Many liberal Christians are open and affirming to active homosexuals. Indeed, there is a denomination of 40,000 members, the Metropolitan Community Church, devoted to being open and affirming to active homosexuals. The United Church of Christ also condones gay marriage and some parts of the Anglican and Lutheran churches allow for the blessing of gay unions. The United Church of Canada also allows same-sex marriage, and views sexual orientation as a gift from God.

Islam

All major Islamic sects disapprove of homosexuality,[8] Islam views same-sex desires as an unnatural temptation; but, sexual relations are seen as a transgression of the natural role and aim of sexual activity.[9] Same-sex intercourse is an offence punishable by execution in six Muslim nations: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mauritania, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.[10] It also carried the death penalty in Afghanistan under the Taliban. In other Muslim nations, such as Bahrain, Qatar, Algeria, Pakistan the Maldives, and Malaysia, homosexuality is punished with prison, fines, or corporal punishment.

Islamic teachings (in the hadith tradition) presume same-sex attraction, extol abstention and (in the Qur'an) condemn consummation. In concordance with those creeds, in Islamic countries, male desire for attractive male youths is widely expected and condoned as a human characteristic similar as the admiration or attraction for an older or wiser sibling. Homosexual intercourse itself has been interpreted to be a form of lust and a violation of the Qur'an.

The discourse on homosexuality in Islam is primarily concerned with activities between men. Relations between women, if they are regarded as problems, are treated akin to adultery, and al-Tabari records an execution of a harem couple under Caliph al-Hadi.

Islam allows and promotes filial love between siblings of the same gender. Sexual activities between them, however, are totally prohibited. Ibn Hazm, Ibn Daud, Al-Mutamid, Abu Nuwas and many others used this edict to write extensively and openly of brotherly love between men while proclaiming to be chaste.

The teachings of Islam have themselves been used to justify love and sexual expression between males. As for bearing witness, it takes emotional considerations into the subject. See Qur'an, iv. 38; Qur'an, ii. 282; Qur'an, iv. 175), and thus, by a process of induction, they must be worthier objects of desire as well.[clarify]Debate Between the Wise Woman and the Sage


Zoroastrianism

The Vendidad, one of the later Zoroastrian texts composed in the Artificial Young Avestan language, has not been dated precisely but likely evolved sometime around the 8th century BC, perhaps contemporaneously with the Jewish Torah. It is thought that some concepts of law, uncleanliness, dualism, and salvation were shared between the religions.[11], and subsequent interactions between the religions are documented by events such as the release of the Jews from the Babylonian captivity by Zoroastrian Cyrus the Great in 537 BC, and the Biblical account of the Magi visiting the infant Jesus. The Vendidad generally promotes procreation: "the man who has a wife is far above him who lives in continence; he who keeps a house is far above him who has none; he who has children is far above the childless man; he who has riches is far above him who has none." It details the penance for a worshipper who submits to sodomy under force as "Eight hundred stripes with the Aspahe-astra, eight hundred stripes with the Sraosho-charana." (equal to the penalty for breaking a contract with the value of an ox[12]), and declares that for those participating voluntarily "For that deed there is nothing that can pay, nothing that can atone, nothing that can cleanse from it; it is a trespass for which there is no atonement, for ever and ever". However, those not practicing the Religion of Mazda were pardoned for past actions upon conversion. [13]

[edit] Dharmic religions
Among the dharmic religions that originated in India, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, teachings regarding homosexuality are less clear than among the Abrahamic traditions. Unlike in western religions, homosexuality is rarely discussed. However, most contemporary religious authorities in the various dharmic traditions view homosexuality negatively, and when it is discussed, it is discouraged or actively forbidden.[14] Ancient religious texts such as the Vedas often refer to people of a third gender, who are neither female nor male. Some see this third gender as an ancient parallel to modern western lesbian, gay, transgender and/or intersex identities. However, this third sex is usually negatively valued as a pariah class in ancient texts.[15] Ancient Hindu law books, from the first century onward, categorize non-vaginal sex (ayoni) as impure.[16]


Hinduism

Hinduism has taken various positions, ranging from positive to neutral or antagonistic. Sexuality is rarely discussed openly in Hindu society today, and homosexuality is largely a taboo subject — especially among the strongly religious. In a 2004 survey, most swamis said they opposed the concept of a Hindu-sanctified gay marriage.[17] Some of the law codes, such as that of Manu Smriti refer to both female and male homosexuality as a punishable crime.[18] Punishments include ritual baths, fines, public humiliation and having fingers cut off. However, the bulk of sexual matters dealt with by the law books are heterosexual in nature.

A "third gender" has been acknowledged within Hinduism since Vedic times. Several Hindu texts, such as Manu Smriti[19] and Sushruta Samhita, assert that some people are born with either mixed male and female natures, or sexually neuter, as a matter of natural biology. They worked as hairdressers, flower-sellers, servants, masseurs and prostitutes. Today, many people of a "third gender" (hijras) live throughout India, mostly on the margins of society, and many still work in prostitution, or make a livelihood as beggars.

The Indian Kama Sutra, written in the 4th century AD, contains passages describing eunuchs or "third-sex" males performing oral sex on men.[20] However, the author was "not a fan of homosexual activities" and treated such individuals with disdain, according to historian Devdutt Pattanaik.[21] Similarly, some medieval Hindu temples and artifacts openly depict both male homosexuality and lesbianism within their carvings, such as the temple walls at Khajuraho. Some infer from these images that Hindu society and religion were previously more open to variations in human sexuality than they are at present.

In Hinduism many divinities are androgynous. There are Hindu deities who are intersex (both male and female); who manifest in all three genders; who switch from male to female or from female to male; male deities with female moods and female deities with male moods; deities born from two males or from two females; deities born from a single male or single female; deities who avoid the opposite sex; deities with principal companions of the same sex, and so on. One of the most important aspects of Hinduism is the belief that both God and nature are unlimitedly diverse.


[edit] Buddhism
Main article: Homosexuality and Buddhism
Asian societies shaped by Buddhist traditions takes a strong ethical stand in human affairs and sexual behavior in particular. However, unlike most other world religions, most variations of Buddhism do not go into details what is right and what is wrong in what it regards as mundane activities of life. Details of accepted or unaccepted human sexual conduct is not specifically mentioned in any of the religious scriptures in Pali language. The most common formulation of Buddhist ethics are the Five Precepts and the Eightfold Path, one should neither be attached to nor crave sensual pleasure. These precepts take the form of voluntary, personal undertakings, not divine mandate or instruction. The third of the Five Precepts is "To refrain from committing sexual misconduct.[22]. However, the "sexual misconduct" is such a broad term, and is subjected to interpretation relative to the social norms of the followers. In fact, Buddhism in its fundamental form, does not define what is right and what is wrong in absolute terms for lay followers. Therefore the interpretation of whether homosexuality is acceptable for a layperson or not, is not a religious matter as far as fundamental Buddhism is concerned.

Buddhism is often characterised as distrustful of sensual enjoyment and sexuality in general.[23] In particular, homosexual conduct and gender variance are seen as obstacles to spiritual progress in most schools of Buddhism. Traditionally, monks are expected to refrain from all sexual activity, and the Vinaya (the first book of the Tripitaka) specifically prohibits homosexuality and gender variance for monks.[24] A notable exception in the history of Buddhism occurred in Japan during the Edo period, in which male homosexuality, or more specifically, pederasty between young novices and older monks, was celebrated.[25]

References to pandaka, a deviant sex/gender category that is usually interpreted to include homosexual males, can be found throughout the Pali canon as well as other Sanskrit scriptures.[26] Leonard Zwilling refers extensively to Buddhaghosa's Samantapasadika, where pandaka are described as being filled with defiled passions and insatiable lusts, and are dominated by their libido. The Abhidharma states that a pandaka cannot achieve enlightenment in their own life time, but must wait for rebirth as a normal man or woman. According to one scriptural story, Ananda—Buddha's cousin and disciple—was a pandaka in one of his many previous lives.

The third of the Five Precepts of Buddhism states that one is to refrain from sexual misconduct; this precept has sometimes been interpreted to include homosexuality. The Dalai Lama of Tibetan Buddhism interprets sexual misconduct to include lesbian and gay sex, and indeed any sex other than penis-vagina intercourse, including oral sex, anal sex, and masturbation or other sexual activity with the hand.[27] However, the Dalai Lama supports human rights for all, "regardless of sexual orientation."[28]

In Thailand, traditional accounts propose that "homosexuality arises as a kammic consequence of violating Buddhist proscriptions against heterosexual misconduct. These kammic accounts describe homosexuality as a congenital condition which cannot be altered, at least in a homosexual person's current lifetime, and have been linked with calls for compassion and understanding from the non-homosexual populace."[23] However, Buddhist leaders in Thailand have also condemned homosexuality,[29] ousted monks accused of homosexual acts, and banned kathoey from ordination.

Within Japanese traditions, there is a widespread story that homosexuality was "invented" by the Bodhisattva Manjusri of wisdom and the sage Kūkai, the founder of Buddhism in Japan.[30] Japanese Buddhist scholar and author of Wild Azaleas Kitamura Kigin said that heterosexuality was to be avoided for priests and homosexuality encouraged.[31]


[edit] Sikhism
Main article: Homosexuality and Sikhism
Sikhism has no written view on the matter, but in 2005, the world's highest Sikh religious authority described homosexuality as "against the Sikh religion and the Sikh code of conduct and totally against the laws of nature," and called on Sikhs to support laws against gay marriage.[32]


[edit] Jainism
Chastity is one of the five virtues in the fundamental ethical code of Jainism. For laypersons, the only appropriate avenue for sexuality is within marriage, and homosexuality is believed to lead to negative karma.[33] Jain author Duli Chandra Jain wrote in 2004 that homosexuality and transvestism "stain one's thoughts and feelings" because they involve sexual passion.[34]


[edit] Taoic religions
Among the Taoic religions of East Asia, such as Taoism, passionate homosexual expression is usually discouraged because it is believed to not lead to human fulfillment.[35]


[edit] Confucianism
Main article: Homosexuality and Confucianism
Confucianism has allowed homosexual sex with the precondition of procreation.[citation needed] In China where Buddhists often belong to Confucianism as well, traditionally exclusive homosexuality was discouraged because it would prevent a son from carrying out his Confucian religious duty to reproduce,[citation needed] whereas non-exclusive homosexuality was permissible and widely practiced.[citation needed] Monogamy was an unusual and foreign idea to many Asians until contact with the West.[citation needed] Chinese traditions attribute homosexuality to Huang Di ("Yellow Emperor"), the father of Chinese civilization.[citation needed]


[edit] Taoism
Main article: Homosexuality and Taoism
It is difficult to determine a single position on homosexuality in Taoism, as the term Taoism is used to describe a number of disparate religious traditions, from organised religious movements such as Quanzhen to Chinese folk religion and even a school of philosophy. The vast majority of adherents live in China and among Chinese Diaspora communities elsewhere, and so attitudes to homosexuality within Taoism often reflect the values and sexual norms of broader Chinese society (see Homosexuality in China).

Taoism stresses the relationship between yin and yang: two opposing forces which maintain harmony through balance. The Taoist tradition holds that males need the energies of females, and vice versa, in order to bring about balance, completion and transformation. Heterosexuality is seen as the physical and emotional embodiment of the harmonious balance between yin and yang. Homosexuality on the other hand is often seen as the union of two yins or two yangs, and therefore unbalanced. People in same-sex relationships or people who engage in same-sex sexual behaviour are thought to be susceptible to illness.[36]

Homosexuality has found a place within the history of Taoism, at certain times and places. For example, Taoist nuns exchanged love poems during the Tang dynasty.[37]


Paganism


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Main articles: Pederasty and Mythology of same-sex love
In Classical antiquity, religious views on same-sex romance cannot be separated from the general societal view of the subject. Attitudes toward same-sex intercourse differed somewhat between the Greeks and the Romans. In ancient Greece same-sex love was integrated in sacred texts and rituals, reflecting the fact that in antiquity it was considered normal to be open to romantic engagements with either sex. Certain surviving myths depict homosexual bonds (see History), sanctified by divinities modeling such relationships (e.g. Zeus and Ganymede). The Romans viewed sexuality somewhat differently. It was considered appropriate for someone of higher social standing to sexually penetrate someone of lower social standing. Thus, an upper-class male could engage in sexual relations with either a slave or a woman (both below him in standing). It would be inappropriate and indeed condemned for a free Roman man to be penetrated by another man.

The Sumerian religion also held homosexuality sacred. It also was incorporated into various New World religions, such as the Aztec. It is thought to have been common in shamanic practice. In part due to the spread of medieval Christianity there is no clear record of homosexuality in ancient Germanic Paganism. On one hand effeminate and homosexual men were deemed capable of performing a powerful type of female sorcery, called seid; however the trickster and occasional transsexual God Loki accused Norse Paganism's grand patriarch Odin of engaging in the same kind of sorcery.


[edit] Neopagan religion
Neopagan religions are almost unanimous in their acceptance of same-sex relationships as equal to heterosexual ones. Most Neo-Pagan religions have the theme of fertility (both physical and creative/spiritual) as central to their practices, and as such encourage a healthy sex life, which is seen as consensual sex between adults, regardless of gender or age. Another New Age perspective, however, is that of Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now. Starting with the idea that "the realization that you are 'different' from others may force you to dissidentify from socially conditioned patterns of thought and behavior," he claims that being gay can help in the "quest for enlightenment", but only so long as one does not "develop a sense of identity based on... gayness".

Wicca, like other religious philosophies has a spectrum of adherents including those with conservative views to liberal views. Nothing in Wiccan philosophy prohibits sexual intercourse outside of marriage or relationships between members of the same sex, however. On the contrary, the Wiccan Rede "An it harm none, do as thou wilt" is interpreted by many to allow and endorse responsible sexual relationships of all varieties.

The Charge of the Goddess, says in the words of the Goddess, "all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals"[38] and in the Gardnerian and Alexandrian forms of Wicca, "The Great Rite" is a way of expressing love through sexuality. The ritual is not an excuse to have sex with someone, nor is any sexual activity in a properly consecrated circle a Great Rite.[39] Any sexual acts dealing with Wicca, whether literal or symbolic, is encouraged to take place between two consenting adults, even more so with two involved lovers.

The Wiccan attitude about sexuality as wholly natural, and goes on from there to seek a fuller understanding of masculine-feminine polarity and of how to make constructive use of it — both psychologically and magically. Sexuality freed from the shackles of obligatory breeding is what makes us specifically human.[40]

Other religions collectively termed "Pagan," including Druidism are also accepting in general.


[edit] Religious groups and civil rights political activity
Religious opponents of LGBT rights believe that supporting reform of anti-gay laws would promote wilful acts of homosexuality, which is incompatible with their faith. Opposition to equal rights protections, same-sex marriage, and anti-hate crime legislation is often associated with conservative religious views.

On the other hand, the Unitarian Universalist Association supports the freedom to marry [41]and compares resistance to it to the resistance to abolition of slavery, women's suffrage, and the end of anti-miscegenation laws. [42]

Some religious groups have even promoted boycotts of corporations whose policies support the LGBT community. In early 2005, the American Family Association threatened a boycott of Ford products to protest Ford's perceived support of "the homosexual agenda and homosexual marriage"."[43] After meeting with representatives of the group, Ford announced it was curtailing ads in a number of major gay publications (thus depriving them of a major source of income), an action it claimed to be determined not by cultural but by "cost-cutting" factors. That statement was contradicted by the AFA, which claimed it had a "good faith agreement" that Ford would cease such ads. Soon afterwards, as a result of a strong outcry from the gay community, Ford backtracked and announced it would continue ads in gay publications, in response to which the AFA denounced Ford for "violating" the agreement, and renewed threats of a boycott.[44]


[edit] Religious persecution of homosexuality
Persecution of lesbians and gay men is common in conservative Islamic nations such as Saudi Arabia, where gay men have reportedly been beheaded, or forced into therapy. The Taliban regime in Afghanistan reportedly executed homosexuals by burying them alive.

Some translations of the Old Testament have been used to argue that gay men should be punished with death, and AIDS has been portrayed by some such as Fred Phelps and Jerry Falwell[45] as a punishment by God against gay men and lesbians.


[edit] Religious support for homosexuality
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There exist groups and denominations whose interpretation of scripture and doctrine states that homosexuality is morally acceptable, and a natural occurrence. Some conclude that there can be no scriptural prohibition against homosexuality as it is presently understood, namely as the outworking of an orientation. Others consider that scriptural prohibitions only relate to pederasty, which was a mode of same-sex practice in ancient times. Others consider that scripture has a thoroughgoing patriarchal bias, which expresses itself in a disapproval of all gender-transgressive sexual practices; present-day readings must account for this. Proponents of liberation theology may consider that the liberation of gays and lesbians from stigmatisation and oppression is a Kingdom imperative. Similarly, the inclusion of the "unclean" Gentiles in the early Church is sometimes said to be a model for the inclusion of other peoples called "unclean" today.

Others consider that Christ made the commandments to "love God and one's neighbour," and to "love one's neighbour as oneself" touchstones of the moral law; that these imply a radical equality, and that, by this principle of equality, the Law of Moses is to be adjusted. Jesus exemplified this principle in his teaching on divorce. Furthermore, it is said that Jesus Christ instituted a virtue ethic, whereby the worth of one's action is to be adjudged by one's interior disposition. For these reasons, it is said that to condemn homosexuality is to fall into a pre-Christian "Pharasaical" legalism.

People adopting one of the foregoing positions would hold that morality which applies to heterosexuals should similarly apply to gay men and lesbians, i.e. sex is acceptable within a monogamous relationship or a same-sex marriage.

Others seek a naturalistic justification for the view that homosexual behavior is moral or that morality does not apply, pointing to evidence of the existence of such behavior in the animal kingdom. Therefore it is said to be natural, perhaps even integral to a species' survival


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