Homosexuality as viewed by different Christian denominations
Jehovah's Witnesses & same-sex marriage
An article in Awake! magazine concerning same-sex marriage:
The Jehovah's Witnesses published an article condemning same-sex marriage in
their Awake! magazine for 2001-APR-08. 1 The article discussed most of the Bible
passages that have been cited elsewhere in discussions of same-sex marriage
In this essay, we are not trying to attack the Jehovah's Witness position.
Rather, we are attempting to explain the full diversity of Christian
interpretation of those biblical passages that may relate to homosexuality. We
are comparing the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses with those of more liberal
Genesis 2:24: This verse
discusses a man and woman forming a marriage relationship. Awake! stated:
"God intended marriage to be a permanent and an intimate bond between a
man and a woman. Men and women are designed to complement each other so
they may be capable of satisfying each otherís emotional, spiritual, and
sexual needs and desires."
verse certainly demonstrates God's support for opposite-sex marriage. However, Jews,
Christians, and Muslims have not reached a consensus on whether
this passage describes God's only recommended adult lifestyle, or his
main recommended lifestyle.
Some argue that God approves of opposite-sex
marriage for most adults, as well as:
- Celibacy for those who are attracted to this lifestyle and can cope with
- A loving committed same-sex relationship leading to same-sex marriage
as an option for those with a homosexual or bisexual orientation.
Genesis 19: This chapter
describes God's genocide of the newborns, infants, children and adults in
the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah due to extreme levels of sinful behaviors
by the adults in those cities. The Awake! article describes the "sinful
depravity" by the men of Sodom who apparently demanded access to Lot's
angelic guests in order
to rape them. According to Awake!: "The Bible says: 'The men of Sodom were bad and
were gross sinners against Jehovah'."
There is no consensus among Bible believers as to the specific nature of the men's sin. The Bible is
ambiguous on this point. The sin may have been:
The Awake! article states unequivocally that the sin was the desire to
engage in homosexual behavior. However, other
passages in the Bible seem to refer to the sinfulness of the people of Sodom's
as being their brutal and uncaring response to strangers, widows,
orphans, the poor, and hurting. It would appear that the genocide in Genesis
19 is unrelated to loving, committed homosexual activity. Rather, it was
triggered either by the men's attempts at bestiality and/or rape.
Bestiality: sexual intercourse between men and
Rape: anal intercourse forced on Lot's guests
against their will.
Homosexual behavior itself.
account of attempted same-sex rape in Genesis can be used to condemn all
homosexual behavior, then the opposite-sex rape in Genesis 34:1,
Deuteronomy 22:28, etc. can be used to condemn all heterosexual
The Awake! article linked all modern-day homosexual behavior to this
passage. It describes men who became "violently inflamed in their lust
toward one another, males with males. (Romans 1:27)" It is
important to realize that the men to whom the passage in Romans refers
were heterosexual. They were once Christians. They had left the faith and
reverted to Paganism. Later, they
had apparently become involved in sexual orgies in Greek Pagan temples.
During the orgies, they had engaged in homosexual activities with other men
-- something that is against their fundamental nature. This passage has nothing to do
with men with a homosexual orientation engaging in loving, committed
same-sex behavior within marriage. To the latter, sex with a woman would be
against their fundamental nature.
Jude 7: This passage has an ambiguous phrase describing the men
of Sodom: "gone out after
flesh for unnatural use" (New World Translation) or "going after strange
flesh" (King James Version). The Jehovah's Witnesses and most other
religious conservatives interpret this phrase as condemning all ancient and modern-day
homosexual activity. However, many or most most Bible believers interpret it as referring to the
attempted bestiality by the men of Sodom. The males were human and the
victims that they wanted to rape were of a different species -- angels.
Leviticus 18:22: This is part of
the Jewish holiness code. It states that: "You must not lie down with a male
the same as you lie down with a woman. It is a detestable thing." (New World
Translation)Awake! interprets this passage as condemning all homosexual
behavior. But many Christians conclude that the verse condemns only anal
intercourse between two men in a Pagan temple ritual or condemns anal
intercourse between two men in a woman's bed. Many gay males do
not engage in anal intercourse. Few have sex on a woman's bed. Even fewer of them engage in orgies in Pagan
temples. This passage may well be unrelated to married
same-sex spouses today. 1
However, the Awake! article ignored an important passage:
Genesis 2:18: In this
verse, God is quoting as saying that it is not good for a man to be alone.
This appears to support committed relationships leading to marriage. For a
person with a homosexual orientation, opposite-sex marriage is not usually
attainable or sustainable. This passage would seem to imply support for
homosexuals and bisexuals entering a
same-sex marriage. The Awake! article did not discuss this verse.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
"Does God approve of same-sex marriage?" Awake! magazine, 2005-APR-08, at:
Copyright © 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Original posting: 2008-SEP-27
Latest update: 2008-SEP-27
Author: B.A. Robinson