image caption: Gurmukh Singh OBE

Sikh View About Homosexuality and Same-Sex Marriages

ਹੇ ਕਾਮੰ ਨਰਕ ਬਿਸ੍ਰਾਮੰ ਬਹੁ ਜੋਨੀ ਭ੍ਰਮਾਵਣਹ 

O sexual desire, you lead the mortals to hell you make them wander in reincarnation through countless species. []]A reference to sub-human stages which torment the human mind] (SGGS Ank 1358)

A video of a Sikh man marrying another man on social media triggered a BBC discussion about faith view of same sex marriages. On Thursday, 19 January 2023, I was contacted by BBC Religion and Ethics section about same-sex marriage with a particular focus on Sikhism. The person was interested in an article I wrote to inform government consultation some years ago, outlining the Sikh view about same sex marriages. (see Sikh Missionary Society UK Website link below). Eventually, faith views were discussed at a recent BBC Radio 4 programme.

In January 2005, an edict rejecting same sex marriages was issued from Sri Akal Takht Sahib. The worldwide Sikh community is instructed not to allow such marriages to take place at any Gurdwara. That is the formal position which should be stated clearly by any person claiming to speak for the Sikh faith.

In Sikhi, sexual relationship is allowed within the bounds of a marriage of bliss (Anand Karaj) which unites a man and a woman only for the purpose of begetting and raising children in a caring and loving family environment. As Dr I J Singh of USA wrote: much of Sikh teaching is couched in metaphors from family life. Even the adoration of God is explored in terms of the closest relationship that humans can comprehend - that between a man and a woman. (Dr I J Singh, Same Sex Unions.)

On 5 February 2023, a news report by BBC Religion Editor, Aleem Maqbool, was published in Asia Samachar. A Sikh, Jasvir Singh, is described as one of the most prominent Sikh voices in British public life. That Jasvir is gay and has married a man. Jasvir is quoted as saying that he is a devout Sikh. From his photo it seems, he does not keep full Sikh identity.

There is much wrong with this report by one supposed to be an analyst of different faiths. It shows the careless attitude of BBC about Sikh faith representation. Through Jasvir, it impliedly writes off national level Sikh organisations as a very small element of the British Sikh community. In another sense, yet once again, the report confirm my long standing impression that the British establishment continues to show a remarkable capacity to make the a most visible and significant minority, the Sikhs and their organisations, invisible by not consulting them and by misrepresenting even the basics of the Sikh faith.

To my knowledge, I am vaguely aware that Jasvir is connected to some outfit called City Sikhs open to membership from all communities. His sexual orientation is his own personal business and it is up to him and his colleagues to interpret SIKH in their own way. All are welcome to the gurdwara. However, there are certain facets of central Sikh Authority which cannot be ignored. These inseparable facets are Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Reht Matryada derived from Sikh teachings, the institution of Sri Akal Takht Sahib representing the collective of the Khalsa Panth.

British Sikhs, otherwise acknowledged as hard-working and law-abiding citizen, deserve better treatment.

 **Sikh Missionary Society UK Website:

Asia Samachar:

Gurmukh Singh OBE

Principal Civil Servant Retd (UK)