As many of my friends know, I am a strong ally of a variety of social movements. I have always seen myself as an ally of LGBTQ+ rights, I have attended Black Lives Matter marches and for me, the Stop Asian Hate movement hits close to home since I am half Asian myself. That’s why when I heard that the Vatican had announced that they would not be blessing same-sex marriages, I was not happy, to say the least.
Traditionally, marriage has been between a man and a woman, but same-sex relationships have existed for far longer than most people are aware. Even with countries such as the United States legalizing same-sex marriage in recent years, there are still other places where same-sex relationships are punished severely. In several countries in Africa and the Middle East, where Islam is widely practiced, being a member of the LGBTQ+ community is punishable by jail time or even death. Same-sex marriage is legally performed and recognized in 29 countries. However, approximately 80 countries still criminalize LGBT relationships in some way, and the death penalty exists for engaging in homosexual acts in Afghanistan, Brunei, Mauritania, Nigeria (in the northern third of the country), Saudi Arabia, Somalia and the United Arab Emirates.
In recent years, the Vatican has voiced its support on certain important topics, such as the refugee crisis and climate change. Pope Francis has also made remarks about not judging gay people, and accepting them into the family of the church. However, hearing the Vatican’s refusal to bless same-sex marriage, however, left a sour taste in my mouth. The Vatican’s reasoning for not blessing same-sex marriage was that according to them, it is not possible to bless sin. However, despite people claiming that the Bible states same-sex relationships are a sin, it is never explicitly stated, and the Bible verse that is often used to defend this view is commonly misinterpreted. The verse, which states that a man who lies with a man is to be punished, is often interpreted to mean that gay men are to be severely punished. However, the line actually likely means that a man who lies with an underage boy, a pedophile, is the one to be severely punished. Unfortunately, the misinterpretation of this verse has for years led to the defense of homophobic beliefs.
This is not the first time that a religious organization has come under fire for opposing same-sex relationships. In 2015, shortly after the United States legalized same-sex marriage, the Mormon Church released a statement on their views of same-sex relationships. Included in the statement were messages stating that a couple in a same-sex relationship could not be sealed in the temple, and children of same-sex couples could not be baptized or sealed to their parents until they were 18 years old. This statement caused an uproar and ended up being among the first of many things that the Mormon Church has come under fire for. I strongly disagree with the Vatican’s notion to not bless same-sex marriage. Whether you are in a relationship with a man, a woman, a non-binary person, a transgender person, or whoever else you are in love with, everyone deserves to have a fulfilling and loving relationship. Unfortunately, the Vatican doesn’t see this quite yet, but hopefully their stance will change in the future.