As Australia celebrates a pivotal day in history for same-sex marriage and with its Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announcing for the bill to be legalised before Christmas, some LGBT Malaysians can only ‘wish’ for that day to come – while others, unsurprisingly express their disgust over the news.
Recently, social media was abuzz after a Malaysian LGBT couple’s wedding proposal went viral online.
The pair, Ivan Seng, 28, and Winson Khor, 26, from Tawau, Sabah had made their nuptial vows in Kuala Lumpur and a worried Sepanggar Umno youth representative Shyazreen Asri, had lodged a report so that relevant authorities could investigate and take action against them because the Malaysian government had never recognised same-sex marriage.
“This issue has also angered various parties which can be seen from netizens’ comments on social media that they are against such marriage,” Shyazreen said on Monday (Nov 13).
In fact, earlier on, many Malaysians were also angered by the fact that Starbucks supported same-sex marriages and Perkasa, even called to boycott the coffee shops, and urged for the Malaysian government to revoke the trading license given to the chain.
Same-sex marriage is obviously illegal in Malaysia, as under Section 69 (d) of the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 states: “A marriage which takes place after the appointment date (March 1, 1982) shall be void if the parties are not respectively male and female.”
But that did not stop the public from questioning the rights of LGBT in Malaysia:
“So now, same sex marriage is legal in Australia. How about Malaysia? Still catching that gay couple…,” said one Twitter user.
“Malaysia still doesn’t legalise same-sex marriage though, so we both might need to travel and who knows, become a renowned chef?,” voiced another.
However, one Twitter user accurately wrote: “On the topic of same-sex marriage in Malaysia, I believe it will never happen unless the country suddenly doesn’t have an official religion.”
The spot on statement had also left a question mark as to whether same-sex marriages should be debated in a Muslim majority country.
A video by OnePath Network today has shed light to that very thought of those who asked ‘Should Muslims ever support gay marriage?’.
The panel of Australian leading imams had discussed the topic in ‘The Imams Panel’, which involved one imam revealing that Muslims should never discriminate against anyone should they wish to commit same-sex marriage.
“Whoever wants to do whatever, there’s the freedom of the country or whatever. But as Muslim, Islam categorically says that it is Haram (prohibited), it is very clear in the Quran in the Sunnah),” says Mufti Zeeyad Ravat from Pillars of Guidance Community Centre (PGCC) in Melbourne.
He adds that if a person chooses same-sex marriage, “We cannot discriminate against him”, though it is an Islamic scholar’s duty to tell them off that it is not correct and it is ultimately up to the individual to repent to God.
“If we say ‘Okay it’s fine in legalising it’ then we are guilty of changing the Shariah (rulings) of Allah,” he advised while further stating Muslims must be firm in their stance as it reflects on the integrity of Islam.
On the LGBT community, Zeeyad shared, “We need to deal with it, we can’t say they are dirty people and push them aside, they need counselling and some love, and with some help they get over it.
“But if we are going to demonise them, they are going to go deeper and more people are going to follow them,” he pointed out.
While Sheikh Dr. Kamal Taleb from Roselands Masjid shared, “Islam is a religion of truth. It advocates truth and justice. If something is wrong, it won’t stand with wrong.
“With LGBT community, we’ll stand with them if they advocate justice, that which is truth and beneficial and not harmful.
“From an Islamic perspective it is wrong, Islamically speaking. Not only Islam but before Islam…in heavenly religions… It’s not the norm as some people may think,” he said, adding that LGBT behaviour can be manifested in a proper manner or controlled, but not in the wrong manner.
Sheikh Abu Zoud from Sunnah Foundation, on the other hand reminds, “As a Muslim one is supposed to go back to his book of guidance (Quran), the story of Prophet Lut (AS),” whose people had engaged in homosexual acts.
Lut AS had faithfully preached and warned his people while emphasising the error: “Do you commit immorality while you are seeing? Do you indeed approach men with desire instead of women? Rather, you are a people behaving ignorantly.” (Qur’an 27:54-55)
Hence Abu Zoud affirmed, “Muslims stance on this is always ‘NO’… always Islam would teach against them (LGBT), so that’s what we should be teaching,” he emphasised on the importance of educating the younger generation the right thing.