Writing for PinkNews.co.uk, Hardeep Singh says the recent anti-equal marriage remarks expressed by the founder and principal adviser of Sikhs in England gives only one view of his religion.

I’m deeply saddened to read these comments by Mr Singh. PinkNews hardly reports on any gay Sikh related issues and when it does, they are of opposition towards homosexuality.

On one hand, Mr Singh is saying he would attend a same-sex reception but he wouldn’t attend the religious ceremony as he doesn’t agree with it. He feels his religion doesn’t agree with homosexuality. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, my opinion is a stark contrast to his. I firmly believe homosexuality within Sikhism can and does exist. It is by no means against the religion, in fact it’s the opposite. As Sikhs we are taught to love others unconditionally, treat all equally regardless of caste, colour or sexual orientation. We are taught to be in loving relationships and raise children. As gay men and lesbian women, we can do all this.

During a Sikh marriage, a hymn is sung called the Lavaan where the couple getting married walk around the Guru Granth Sahib Ji (the Sikhs holy scripture). This hymn does not mention a man marrying a woman, instead it mentions two genderless souls uniting together becoming the bride and God being the groom. Doesn’t this show homosexuality isn’t a problem?

Mr Singh is indirectly comparing homosexuality to sex acts. Simply by stating “The Guru never said that incest was wrong either” shows that he classes Homosexuality in the same category as incest. I pity him. He doesn’t understand the basics of what being gay means. We all know that we don’t choose our sexual orientation, we are the way in which God intended. I accept my sexuality as something God given, something as natural as the long hair on my head.

What right has he to tell us that being a gay Sikh is wrong? Yes the Guru Granth Sahib Ji does not mention homosexuality at all, this infers that it’s open to interpretation. We are taught to follow our beliefs and stride forward even if everyone is against us. This is the foundation to how Sikhism was created in the first place. Guru Nanak Dev Ji didn’t agree with Hinduism or Islam, he found certain aspects treated some people unfairly.

Whilst I strongly refute the comments he has made, it’s important to understand why he thinks the way he does. My opinion is that there has been a huge cultural influence which has polluted his view on Sikhism. If one was to strictly stick to the scriptures, homosexuality wouldn’t be frowned upon by Sikhs. However, culturally, Homosexuality is a taboo subject, very few Sikhs are openly gay and thus homosexuality is seen as a condemned ‘choice’. Sadly some Sikhs believe being gay is a choice! Fortunately if someone is a gay Sikh or wishes to know more about it there are plenty of resources online. From my interviews with homophobes to speaking with elders in my own family, it’s obvious there is only a matter of time until homosexuality will be accepted by all.

A few years ago, marrying outside of Sikhism was a big deal and the brave few who did it, faced many issues. Now, there are more marriages between religions.

Sikhs have a code of conduct called the Rehat Maryada, it instructs us as to how we should lead our lives as Sikhs. Among others, it states the following:

- A marriage must be between a man and a woman

- A marriage must be between two baptised Sikhs

- Sikhs are not allowed to pierce any part of their body

It’s fair to say these “rules” are broken by a very high percentage of Sikhs. Pierced earrings are the norm, marrying between religions is now commonplace, why is there a big problem when a couple of the same sex wish to be married in the Gurdwara?

I run a blog called Gay Sikh (http://www.gaysikh.com) where I have explored Sikhism and learnt how homosexuality fits in with Sikhism taking in all the homophobic views I’ve received and tried to understand them.

To anyone out there who is a gay Sikh, or someone who doesn’t know about Sikhism, Sikhism is a very inclusive religion where everyone is welcome, treated equally and never condemned for how they naturally are. Unfortunately for some, culture has influenced their view on Sikhism, which in my opinion is completely flawed