With British society ever more liberal and irreligious, legalising same-sex marriage was expected
The political furore over UK Government plans to allow same-sex marriage betrays realities on the ground that show fewer couples are married than ever before, greater numbers co-habiting and an increase in people classifying themselves as single. At the same time the Church’s claims of defending the concept of marriage appear pretty misplaced when the numbers calling themselves Christians has dropped off significantly while the number of people with no religion at all has nearly doubled.
Initial results from last year’s census show that for the first time ever, the majority of Britons were unmarried in 2011. The percentage of married couples fell from 51% to 47%. Over a third (35%) of the population classed themselves as single, an increase of 5% in 10 years. Christianity saw a drop-off in membership, with a 12% decrease between the censuses of 2001 and 2011, and 14m people now consider themselves without a religion – up from 7.7m in 2001.
These are the social trends that provide the context to Government plans for same-sex marriage under equalities legislation. With British society becoming ever more liberal and irreligious – indeed trends that are reflective of societal tendencies across the western world – legalisation to legalise same-sex marriage was to be expected.
A quote from the Home Office Factsheet on Equal Marriage legislation exemplifies this:
As society has changed, so it [marriage] has changed, and become available to an increasingly broad range of people. In fact, if the history of marriage in this country tells us anything, it is that its defenders have had at times needed to be reformers.
Thus perversely the Government suggests it is defending the concept of married life by legislating same-sex marriage.
While the British Government has made certain provisions that mean no religious organisation or individual minister will be forced to conduct marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples, history shows exemptions in law are invariably challenged. And although the Government claims the exemptions allow freedom of religion, establishing same-sex marriage legislation explicitly priorities the right to gay marriage over clear religious injections against it.
This liberal extremism is an inevitability for Muslims living in places like Britain. Therefore as Muslims we must have a strong sense of our own values; what are the lines we will not cross, otherwise we will slowly be overtaken by liberal pressure to trade away our own identity.
In Islam marriage is the bedrock of the social system. Marriage in Islam is not merely for the fulfilment of desires but serves the purpose of ensuring the survival of the human race. This therefore restricts sexual relations between male and female only; which are satisfied only after marriage.
Allah (swt) said: “Oh mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person, and from him created his wife, and from them both He created many men and women” [An-Nisa:1]
He (swt) says: “And We created you in pairs” [An Naba: 8]
It goes without saying that homosexual relations (“married” or otherwise) are forbidden in Islam and considered a great crime.
Married life therefore serves the purpose of securing the family – husband, wives and children – and anything that will jeopardise this from fornication to adultery is abhorrent and punishable. This protects the family unit and society at large from break down that is inevitable if sexual relations are allowed to run loose.
Thus it is unsurprising the census also revealed that of all religions Islam saw the biggest growth in the country with additional 1.2 million Muslims to 2.7 million Muslims in 2011 – 5% of the population – up 1.8 percentage points in the past decade. Increasing numbers are therefore seeing the break down of marriage, family values and irreligiousness in Britain as a spur to find an alternative in Islam. A strong Muslim community that lives and upholds the values of Islam in an uncompromising way, challenging wrongs and standing up justice can only further this Da’wa (call to Islam).