The Sikh Rehat Maryada document states:
ੳ) ਸਿੱਖ ਸਿੱਖਣੀ ਦਾ ਵਿਆਹ, ਬਿਨਾਂ ਜ਼ਾਤ-ਪਾਤ, ਗੋਤ ਵਿਚਾਰੇ ਦੇ ਹੋਣਾ ਚਾਹੀਏ ।
a. A Sikh man and woman should enter wedlock without giving thought to the future spouse’s caste and descent.
Same-sex marriages are not allowed in Sikhi. The Sikh Gurus are the role models for how to live as a Sikh. The Gurus were above human desires and did not require to go through human experiences. However, they lived through everyday human experiences in order to set an ideal example for humans.
The facts are:
- All the Sikh Gurus, with the exception of Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib Ji who was aged 8 when he left his earthly body, had heterosexual marriages (i.e. marriage between man and woman).
- The children of the Gurus had heterosexual marriages.
- Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and other Sikh scriptures like Bhai Gurdaas Ji’s Bani do not entertain the possibility of a homosexual marriage.
- The Maryada (tradition) of the Anand Kaaraj (Sikh marriage ceremony) refers to heterosexual couples.
- No form of intimate partnership, union or sexual relationship (regardless of sexual orientation) is allowed without the Anand Kaaraj ceremony.
- All other men and women other than one’s spouse should be considered and treated as brother or sister if the same age, father or mother if elder, and son or daughter if younger.
- Gurbani tells us to not to attach our identity to our ego or worldly labels. Therefore, to identify one’s identity using sexual orientation, caste, social status etc. would not be in line with the Guru’s teachings.
ਹੋਹੁ ਨਿਮਾਣਾ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਅਗੈ ਮਤ ਕਿਛੁ ਆਪੁ ਲਖਾਵਹੇ ॥
ਆਪਣੈ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ਜਗਤੁ ਜਲਿਆ ਮਤ ਤੂੰ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੁ ਗਵਾਵਹੇ ॥
“O mind! Becoming humble, surrender to the True Guru and do not attach your identity to your ego. The world is consumed by ego and self-identity; watch out that you do destroy yourself (by getting caught up in ego).”
(Aasa M:3, Ang 441)
- Gurbani promotes identifying oneself solely as a devotee, humble servant of God, Sikh of the Guru, and embodiment of the Divine-Light.
ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਆਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥
“O my mind, you are the embodiment of the Divine Light - recognize your own origin.”
(Aasa M:3, Ang 441)
- During the history of the Ten Gurus and the Khalsa, not a single recorded same-sex Anand Kaaraj or any other form of marriage has been conducted by the Gurus or his Sikhs.
- Homosexuality or same-sex marriages have never arisen as an issue or debate in the history of the Sikhs.
- In Sikh tradition the purpose of sex is the potential of reproducing. Any other sexual acts that do not fulfil this purpose would be considered as fulfilling lustful desires. To intentionally waste semen is forbidden in Gurbani:
ਸੁਪਨੈ ਬਿੰਦੁ ਨ ਦੇਈ ਝਰਨਾ ॥
“Do not (waste and) lose your semen, even in your dreams.”
(Bhairo, Bhagat Kabeer Ji, Ang 1160)Intentional waste of semen would include the using of contraception in a heterosexual marriage, masturbation, and other sexual activities that do not lead to the potential of reproducing.
- Same-sex friendships of Gurmukhs (Guru-orientated individuals) are encouraged as long as the intention is to have union with God and not fornication. A lot of spiritual love exists in these relationships, that do not require any form of romance, intimacy or sexual behaviour.
ਸੋਈ ਸਾਜਨ ਮੀਤੁ ਪਿਆਰਾ ॥ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਿ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥
ਸਾਧੂ ਸੰਗਿ ਤਰੀਜੈ ਸਾਗਰੁ ਕਟੀਐ ਜਮ ਕੀ ਫਾਸਾ ਜੀਉ ॥੨॥
“He is a companion, a friend, and a beloved of mine, who reflects upon the Lord's Name, in the Company of the Holy. (Staying) in the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy, cross over the world-ocean, and the noose of death shall be cut away. ||2||”
(Maajh M:5, Ang 108)
Attempts to distort and dilute Gurmat traditions preserved throughout history cannot be accepted in any circumstances. Diluting or changing the Anand Kaaraj code or the accepted notion of marriage presented in Sikh scriptures to compensate homosexuals for historical persecution and hatred directed towards them in wider society is irresponsible and unacceptable.
Same-sex marriages have recently been legalised in countries like Canada and the UK that have significant size Sikh populations. On the request of Gurdwaras seeking an official letter stating the already accepting Sikh position, Akal Takhat Sahib issued a Sandesh (memorandum). All Gurdwaras across the world are bound to disallow any form of same-sex marriage ceremony or blessing in accordance to the above Sandesh.
In accordance to guidance provided to Gurdwaras by the Sikh Council UK in an official letter dated 28th July 2013:
“The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 contains what has been described as a ‘quadruple lock’ to protect religious places of worship from being forced to carry out same sex marriages. Government Ministers have given written assurances that no Gurdwara will be forced to carry out same sex marriages against their wishes.”
Sikh Council UK - Marriage Guidance Letter PDF