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THE ZOROASTRIAN FAITH AND HOMOSEXUALITY

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The Zoroastrian faith has historically been strongly opposed to homosexual behavior. Zarathustra's writings, the Gathas, are silent on homosexuality or bisexuality. They tend to give broad guidance on basic principles without going heavily into commandments.

The Zoroastrian law book, The Vendidad (written circa 250 to 650 CE) contains "laws against demons" which touch on homosexuality. These purity laws are still followed by some conservative Zoroastrian communities. The Vendidad states:

"The man that lies with mankind as man lies with womankind, or as woman lies with mankind, is the man that is a Daeva [demon]; this one is the man that is a worshipper of the Daevas, that is a male paramour of the Daevas"

An ancient commentary on the Vendidad states:

"Four men can be put to death by any one without an order from the Dastur [high priest]: the corpse-burner, the highwayman, the sodomite, and the criminal taken in the deed."

One principle that might influence condemnation of homosexuality is the importance of family life within the faith. Orthodox Zoroastrianism currently does not accept converts from other religions; one must have a Zoroastrian mother and father in order to be accepted into the faith. To preserve and expand the religion, homosexuals as well as celibate persons would be pitied and pressured into marriage.

Many Zoroastrians in the Internet and media are promoting the suppression of homosexuality within their community. Others, of a more liberal persuasion, are more accepting of homosexuality.

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Reference

The Vendidad, Fargard VIII, chapter 5, paragraph 32(102)

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