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Religious Tolerance logo

An essay donated by "Tricia B"

The Baha'i position on same-sex behavior

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To understand the Bahai position on homosexuality you have to understand the Bahai position on sex conduct in general.  The teaching considers all sex act (kissing, masturbation, intercourse, etc.) outside of [opposite-sex] marriage to be immoral.  It doesn't matter if it is hetero- or homosexual in nature.

Unfortunately, for the homosexual, Bahai law (as explicitly written by the prophet Bahaulla) states that marriage is between one man and and one woman.  Therefore, marriage is not available to the homosexual.

Second, Bahai law deals with violations of sex conduct the same way whether the parties are homosexual or heterosexual.  The community will not intervene and issue sanctions unless the individual openly and flagrantly flaunts their conduct. This is because Baha'i's believe in progressive revelation: As ones capacity to understand grows, the individual will gradually and independently conform their behaviors to the will of God.

For example, sometimes heterosexual couples violate the sex conduct laws.  The community will intervene usually only if the couple starts to cohabitate or publicly flaunt their relationship.

Baha'is recognize that the sex conduct laws place a heavy burden on the homosexual.  For this reason, the guidance cautions us about being compassionate and tolerate... And not hypocritical by using two different approaches for dealing with sexual misconduct by heterosexuals and homosexuals.

That being said, in general Baha'i makes a distinction between a sinner (a person) and his sin (his action).  The sinner can redeem themselves by stop sinning.  So, there is a difference between the homosexual person and homosexual activity.

It is possible for one to be homosexual and a Baha'i with full administrative rights, so long as one remain celibate or discreet about her homosexual activity.

Therefore, to say that Baha'i's are intolerant of homosexuals is not true.  Baha'is are intolerant of all publicly flagrant violations of violations of Baha'i law whether it is joining political parties, cohabitation, common law marriages, or homosexual activity. They are all considered covenant breaking actions.

Originally posted: 2010-JAN-20
Latest update: 2010-JAN-20
Author: "Tricia B"

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