Symbols of the world's largest religions displayed on rainbow flags at the Queer Easter, Germany

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+)-affirming religious groups are religious groups that welcome LGBT people as their members, do not consider homosexuality as a sin or negative, and affirm LGBT rights and relationships. They include entire religious denominations, as well as individual congregations and places of worship. Some groups are mainly composed of non-LGBTQ+ members and they also have specific programs to welcome LGBTQ+ people into them, while other groups are mainly composed of LGBTQ+ members.

Abrahamic religions

Abrahamic religions (namely Judaism, Samaritanism, Christianity, the Baháʼí Faith, and Islam) have traditionally affirmed and endorsed a patriarchal and heteronormative approach towards human sexuality,[1][2][3][4] favouring exclusively penetrative vaginal intercourse between men and women within the boundaries of marriage over all other forms of human sexual activity,[3][4] including autoeroticism, masturbation, oral sex, non-penetrative and non-heterosexual sexual intercourse (all of which have been labeled as "sodomy" at various times),[5] believing and teaching that such behaviors are forbidden because they are considered sinful,[3][4] and further compared to or derived from the behavior of the alleged residents of Sodom and Gomorrah.[3][6][7][8][9] However, the status of LGBT people in early Christianity[10][11][12][13] and early Islam[14][15][16][17] is debated.

In modern times, LGBT-affirming Christian denominations cite several reasons for their support of LGBT rights and relationships. Some argue that passages in the Bible never discuss LGBT relationships as they are known today.[18][19][20][21] Others reject the belief in biblical inerrancy citing translation errors, biases, and other modern reinterpretations of biblical passages such as those seemingly supportive of slavery.[22][23][21][24][25] Others argue that God created LGBT people, LGBT relationships produce good-fruit, and those relationships are therefore good or the fact that Jesus never addressed homosexuality but focused on messages of love.[23][26][27] Similar interpretations have been applied to LGBT rights within Islam[28][29] and Judaism.[30][31]

Christianity

Main articles: Christianity and sexual orientation, History of Christianity and homosexuality, and The Bible and homosexuality

Further information: Christianity and homosexuality, Christianity and transgender people, LGBT-affirming Christian denominations, and LGBT clergy in Christianity

Washington National Cathedral (Episcopal Church in the United States) at D.C. Gay Pride (2014)
United Church of Christ's motto which expresses its support for LGBT rights
Church of the Pilgrims in Washington, D.C., indicating its support for LGBT rights

Several denominations within Christianity accept LGBT members, affirm LGBT relationships, and permit the ordination of openly LGBT candidates for their ministries. In addition to denominations many independent churches support LGBT members.

The following denominations accept same-sex unions to some degree:

A number of Christian ministries seek to create officially sanctioned "safe-spaces" in a similar vein as gay–straight alliances in various schools.

Unitarian Universalism

Main article: Unitarian Universalism and LGBT people

The LGBT flag at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Houston indicates that the church welcomes LGBT-identifying people.

Unitarian Universalism has a long-standing tradition of welcoming LGBTQ+ people. The official position of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) states that "Each of us has worth and dignity, and that worth includes our gender and our sexuality. As Unitarian Universalists (UUs), we not only open our doors to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, we value diversity of sexuality and gender and see it as a spiritual gift. We create inclusive religious communities and work for LGBTQ justice and equity as a core part of who we are. All of who you are is sacred. All of who you are is welcome."[153]

The first ceremony of union performed by a UU minister for a same-gender couple was reportedly done in the late 1950s. It became more commonplace in the late 1970s and early 1980s.[154] The UUA has been ordaining people regardless of sexual orientation since the 1970s, and the first openly transgender person was ordained in 1988.[154] The UUA expects all ministers to show ministerial competency in the area of human sexuality before being approved for ordination.[154] In 2004 the UUA President's Freedom to Marry Fund was launched.[154] In 2009 Standing on the Side of Love was launched, a public advocacy campaign that seeks to harness love's power to stop oppression.[154] The campaign provides a platform for freedom to marry efforts, among other causes.[154]

Judaism

Main articles: Homosexuality and Judaism and Homosexuality in the Hebrew Bible

Further information: LGBT-affirming denominations in Judaism, LGBT clergy in Judaism, and Same-sex marriage and Judaism

A halakhic egalitarian Pride minyan in Tel Aviv on the second Shabbat of Hanukkah

The American branch of Conservative Judaism formally approves of same-sex marriage ceremonies.[155] As of 1992 with the Report of the Reconstructionist Commission on Homosexuality, the Reconstructionist Movement of Judaism has expressed its support for same-sex marriages as well as the inclusion of gay and lesbian people in all aspects of Jewish life. The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation leaves the choice of whether or not to perform same-sex marriages to individual rabbis but the procedure is included in the Reconstructionist Rabbi's Manual and many choose to use the traditional language and symbols of kiddushin.[156][157] Reform Judaism, the largest Jewish denomination in the United States, is generally supportive of LGBT rights and marriage.[158][159]

Islam

Main articles: LGBT in Islam and Mukhannathun

Further information: Liberalism and progressivism within Islam, Liberal and progressive Islam in Europe, and Liberal and progressive Islam in North America

Istanbul LGBT Pride parade in 2013, Taksim Square, Istanbul, Turkey

Attitudes toward LGBTQ+ people and their experiences in the Muslim world have been influenced by its religious, legal, social, political, and cultural history.[15][16][17][160][161] The religious stigma and sexual taboo associated with homosexuality in Islamic societies can have profound effects for those Muslims who self-identify as LGBTQ+.[160][162][163][164] Today, most LGBTQ-affirming Islamic organizations and individual congregations are primarily based in the Western world and South Asian countries[citation needed]; they usually identify themselves with the liberal and progressive movements within Islam.[160][165][166]

Homosexual acts are forbidden in traditional Islamic jurisprudence and are liable to different punishments, including flogging, stoning, and the death penalty,[15][161][164] depending on the situation and legal school.[164] However, homosexual relationships were generally tolerated in pre-modern Islamic societies,[15][16][161] and historical records suggest that these laws were invoked infrequently, mainly in cases of rape or other "exceptionally blatant infringement on public morals".[161] Public attitudes toward homosexuality in the Muslim world underwent a marked negative change starting from the 19th century through the global spread of Islamic fundamentalist movements such as Salafism and Wahhabism,[164] and the influence of the sexual notions and restrictive norms prevalent in Europe at the time: a number of Muslim-majority countries have retained criminal penalties for homosexual acts enacted under European colonial rule.[164] In recent times, extreme prejudice, discrimination, and violence against LGBT people persists, both socially and legally, in much of the Muslim world,[160] exacerbated by increasingly socially conservative attitudes and the rise of Islamist movements in Muslim-majority countries.[164] There are laws against homosexual sexual activities in a large number of Muslim-majority countries, which prescribe the death penalty in a limited number of them.[167]

Gay Muslim activists of the Al-Fatiha Foundation holding the flag of Turkey at the San Francisco Pride (2008)

In France there was an Islamic same-sex marriage on 18 February 2012.[168] In Paris, in November 2012, a room in a Buddhist prayer hall was used by gay Muslims and called a "gay-friendly mosque",[169] and a French Islamic website[170] is supporting religious same-sex marriage. The Ibn Ruschd-Goethe mosque in Berlin is a liberal mosque open to all types of Muslims, where men and women pray together and LGBT worshippers are welcomed and supported.[171] Other significant LGBT-inclusive mosques or prayer groups include the El-Tawhid Juma Circle Unity Mosque in Toronto,[172][173][174] Masjid an-Nur al-Isslaah (Light of Reform Mosque) in Washington D.C.,[175][176] Masjid Al-Rabia in Chicago,[177][176][178] Unity Mosque in Atlanta,[179][180] People's Mosque in Cape Town South Africa,[181][182] Masjid Ul-Umam mosque in Cape Town,[183] Qal'bu Maryamin in California,[184][185] and the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Sufi Community in New York City.[186][187]

Muslims for Progressive Values, based in the United States and Malaysia, is "a faith-based, grassroots, human rights organization that embodies and advocates for the traditional Qur'anic values of social justice and equality for all, for the 21st Century."[188][189] MPV has recorded "a lecture series that seeks to dismantle the religious justification for homophobia in Muslim communities." The lectures can be viewed at MPV Lecture Series.[190] The Mecca Institute is an LGBT-inclusive and progressive online Islamic seminary, and serves as an online center of Islamic learning and research.[176][191]

Dharmic religions

Buddhism

Main article: Buddhism and sexual orientation

Further information: Buddhism and sexuality

Shunkō-in (Japanese: 春光院: "Temple of the Ray of Spring Light") in Kyoto, Japan, that performs same-sex marriage ceremonies

According to the Pāli Canon and Āgama (the early Buddhist scriptures), there is nothing saying that same or opposite gender relations have anything to do with sexual misconduct,[192][193] and some Theravādin Buddhist monks express that same-gender relations do not violate the rule to avoid sexual misconduct, which means not having sex with people under age (thus protected by their parents or guardians), someone betrothed or married, and those who have taken vows of religious celibacy.[194]

Views on homosexuality and LGBT rights differ in the Buddhist tradition. However, many Buddhist leaders and groups have been historically supportive and continue to be supportive of LGBT people.[195][196][197][198][199] The renowned Thiền Buddhist master Thích Nhất Hạnh remarked that the spirit of Buddhism is inclusiveness and states that "when you look at the ocean, you see different kinds of waves, many sizes and shapes, but all the waves have water as their foundation and substance. If you are born gay or lesbian, your ground of being in the same as mine. We are different, but we share the same ground of being."[200][201] Thus Plum Village, founded by Thích Nhất Hạnh and Chân Không, and many of the sanghas within the Plum Village Tradition, are LGBT-affirming.[202][203][204][205][206][207] Some efforts within engaged Buddhism include LGBT rights.[208][209][210][211]

Japan's culture and major religions do not have a history of hostility towards homosexuality.[212] Same-sex marriages are performed at Shunkō-in, a Rinzai Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan.[213] Shozenji Temple in Moriguchi City, Osaka is also LGBT affirming and includes a shrine to Guanyin who is said to have no gender or may change genders to best provide compassion to those in need.[214][215][216][217] Some modern Buddhist leaders were active in the movement for same-sex marriage rights in Taiwan, which legalized same-sex marriages in 2019.[218][219][220][221] Hsing Yun, founder of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist order, has called for tolerance towards the LGBT community.[222][223] Some adherents of the Navayāna (Ambedkarite) Buddhist tradition are supporting LGBT rights within their larger activist activities.[224] In Thailand, some leaders in the Theravāda tradition including Phra Payom Kalayano have expressed support for LGBT rights.[225][226]

In 1997, the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso declared: "From a Buddhist point of view, men-to-men and women-to-women is generally considered sexual misconduct."[227] However, this view expressed by the Dalai Lama is not based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha but derived from some later Abhidharma texts.[228] Moreover, the Dalai Lama has repeatedly "voiced his support for the full recognition of human rights for all people, regardless of sexual orientation."[229] In the most recent interview with the Dalai Lama on this topic (10 March 2014), the Dalai Lama said gay marriage is "OK", provided it's not in contradiction with the values of one's chosen religion.[230][231] Also in the Tibetan tradition, the Nalandabodhi sangha has stated that they are welcoming of all sexual orientations and well-known Bhutanese lama Khyentse Norbu has expressed support for LGBT rights in Bhutan.[232]

Buddhist same-sex wedding

In Western Buddhist denominations, there is widescale support for LGBT rights from Buddhist groups and organizations, including the European Buddhist Union,[233] the Buddhist Churches of America,[234] [199][235] many Shin Buddhist groups,[236] and Zen leaders such as Thích Nhất Hạnh.[237][238] The Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils (FABC), representing Buddhist laypeople, and the Australian Sangha Association vocally supported same-sex marriage in Australia.[239] Soka Gakkai International-USA (SGI-USA) is the most diverse Buddhist community in the United States with more than 500 chapters and some 100 centers throughout the country supports LGBT rights.[240] The Buddhist Church of San Francisco first performed a gay marriage ceremony in the 1970s.[241][242][243] American Soka Gakkai Buddhists have performed same-sex union ceremonies since the 1990s.[244] In a PEW research poll, 88% of American Buddhists stated that homosexuality should be accepted.[245] This was a higher level of support than any other religious group studied.[245]

Hinduism

Main article: Hinduism and LGBT topics

Bahuchar Mata is sometimes considered a patron goddess of the Hijras.

There is no central authority to speak on behalf of all Hindus and, therefore, each Sampradaya, temple, and religious leader may have differing opinions. The Gay & Lesbian Vaishnava Association is a nonprofit religious organization offering positive information and support to LGBTQI Vaishnavas and Hindus more generally[246] The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) states that one of Hinduism's core teachings is that every being is Divine or a reflection of Divine qualities, regardless of one's outer attributes.[247] HAF states that this and other fundamental and ancient Hindu teachings may allow Hindus to more openly embrace LGBT rights and marriage equality.[247] HAF supports marriage equality for all Americans and submitted amicus briefs in various U.S. courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, to this end.[247] Anil Bhanot, general secretary of The United Kingdom Hindu Council said: "The point here is that the homosexual nature is part of the natural law of God; it should be accepted for what it is, no more and no less. Hindus are generally conservative but it seems to me that in ancient India, they even celebrated sex as an enjoyable part of procreation, where priests were invited for ceremonies in their home to mark the beginning of the process."[248] Many queer-affirming Hindus look to LGBT themes in Hindu mythology and LGBT content in pre-modern India as reasons to support and celebrate LGBT people.[249][250][251]

Sikhism

Main article: Sikhism and sexual orientation

As individuals, many Sikhs support LGBT rights, civil partnerships, and same sex marriage because of the religion's emphasis on justice and equality.[252][253][254][255] Civil partnerships and same sex marriage are not banned in the Guru Granth Sahib.[252] LGBT-affirming Sikhs point to the Sikh belief that marriage is a union of souls.[256] In Sikhism, the soul is seen as genderless, and the outward appearance of human beings (man, woman) is a temporary state.[257]

LGBT Sikhs at London gay pride event

While not a denomination, the organization Sarbat is a mixture of both practicing and non-practicing Sikhs with a focus on LGBT rights.[258] The core ethics of the group include the concept of Seva (selfless service), treating others with equality and respect, acknowledgement of the five fundamental human qualities Gurus extensively advocated of Sat (truth), Daya (compassion), Santokh (contentment), Nimrata (humility), and Pyaar (love), and confidentiality and discretion.[258]

Eastern and Southeast Asian religions

Chinese folk religion

Main article: Chinese folk religion

Further information: Homosexuality in China

Tu'er Shen, also known as the Rabbit God, is a gay Chinese deity.[259][260] In 2006, Lu Wei-ming founded a temple for Tu'er Shen and Taoist worship in Yonghe District in the New Taipei City in Taiwan.[261][262][263] About 9,000 pilgrims visit the temple each year praying for a suitable (same-sex) partner.[264] The Wei-ming temple also performs love ceremonies for gay couples.[265][266][non-primary source needed] It is the world's only religious shrine for homosexuals.[267]

Confucianism

Main article: LGBT topics and Confucianism

Homosexuality is not mentioned in the Analects of Confucius.[268]

Shinto

Main article: LGBT topics and Shinto

Historically, Shinto "had no special code of morals and seems to have regarded sex as a natural phenomenon to be enjoyed with few inhibitions."[269] While Shinto beliefs are diverse, Japanese Shinto does not condemn homosexuality,[269] and the formally organized Konkokyo sect is fully affirming.[270][271][272] Multiple Shinto leaders advocated in support of gay marriage in Hawaii.[273]

Taoism

Main article: Homosexuality in China

In a similar way to Buddhism, Taoist schools sought throughout history to define what would be sexual misconduct. The precept against Sexual Misconduct is sex outside your marriage. The married spouses (夫婦) usually in Chinese suggest male with female, though the scripture itself does not explicitly say anything against same-gender relations.[274][275] Many sorts of precepts mentioned in the Yunji Qiqian (雲笈七籤), The Mini Daoist Canon, does not explicitly say anything against same-gender relations as well.[276] Homosexuality is not unknown in Taoist history, such as during the Tang dynasty when Taoist nuns exchanged love poems.[277]

Indigenous religions

African Continental religions

Main article: LGBT rights in Africa

Traditionally, the Meru culture included people called "Mugwe", who served spiritual roles and who were often homosexual and could marry other men.[278][279][280] Several pre-colonial religious and cultural groups across the continent permitted non-heterosexual relationships or gender identities outside of the modern western gender binary.[281][282][283][284][285][286]

African Diasporic religions

Vodou event held at the National Black Theatre in Harlem, New York City

Main article: Haitian Vodou and sexual orientation

Candomblé

Within Candomblé, a syncretic religion founds primarily found in Brazil, there is widespread (though not universal) support for gay rights, many members are LGBT, and have performed gay marriages.[287][288][289][290]

A gathering of both Candomblé and Umbanda followers in Brazil

Haitain Vodou

Homosexuality is religiously acceptable in Haitian Vodou.[291][292][293] The lwa or loa (spirits) Erzulie Dantor and Erzulie Freda are often associated with and viewed as protectors of queer people.[294][295] The lao Ghede Nibo is sometimes depicted as an effeminate drag queen and inspires those he inhabits to lascivious sexuality of all kinds.[296][297]

Santería

Practitioners of Santería, primarily found in Cuba, generally (though not universally) welcome LGBT members and include them in religious or ritual activities.[298][299]

Umbanda

Also a Brazilian syncretic religion, Umbanda houses generally support LGBT rights and have performed gay marriages.[300][289][290][301]

Ancient Mesopotamian religion

Main article: Ancient Mesopotamian religion

Two gala priests, dating to c. 2450 BC, found in the temple of Inanna at Mari

Individuals who went against the traditional gender binary were heavily involved in the cult of Inanna, an ancient Mesopotamian goddess.[302][303] During Sumerian times, a set of priests known as gala worked in Inanna's temples, where they performed elegies and lamentations.[302] Men who became gala sometimes adopted female names and their songs were composed in the Sumerian eme-sal dialect, which, in literary texts, is normally reserved for the speech of female characters. Some Sumerian proverbs seem to suggest that gala had a reputation for engaging in anal sex with men.[304] During the Akkadian Period, kurgarrū and assinnu were servants of Ishtar who dressed in female clothing and performed war dances in Ishtar's temples.[304] Several Akkadian proverbs seem to suggest that they may have also had homosexual proclivities.[304] Gwendolyn Leick, an anthropologist known for her writings on Mesopotamia, has compared these individuals to the contemporary Indian hijra.[302] In one Akkadian hymn, Ishtar is described as transforming men into women.[304] Some modern pagans include Inanna in their worship.[305]

Burmese folk religion

Main article: Burmese folk religion

Many Nat Kadaws in traditional Burmese folk religion are members of the LGBT community.[306][307][308]

Đạo Mẫu

Đạo Mẫu Mother Goddess of Heaven Mẫu Thượng Thiên – Artist Lunae Lumen – Four Palaces Tứ Phủ

Main article: Đạo Mẫu

In Vietnam, many LGBT people find a safe community within the Đạo Mẫu religion which is worship on the mother god.[309][310] Many LGBT people act as mediums during Đạo Mẫu rituals.[311]

Indonesian religions

Main articles: Torajan people and Gender in Bugis society

Among the Saʼadan (eastern Toraja) in the island of Sulawesi (Celebes), Indonesia, there are shamans who do not fit into the western gender binary.[312][313] Many within the Bugis society recognize five genders: makkunrai, oroané, bissu, calabai, and calalai.[314][315][316] Historically, the bissu gender often played religious roles though modern discrimination has reduced the number of bissu religious leaders.[317][316]

Pre-colonial religions of the Americas

Drawing by George Catlin (1796–1872) while on the Great Plains among the Sac and Fox Nation. Depicting a group of male warriors dancing around a male-bodied person in a woman's dress, non-Native artist George Catlin titled the painting Dance to the Berdache.

Main articles: Alaska Native religion, Mesoamerican religion, Native American religion, and Inuit religion

Further information: Same-sex marriage in tribal nations in the United States

Among the Indigenous peoples of the Americas prior to the European colonization, many Nations had respected ceremonial, religious, and social roles for homosexual, bisexual, and gender-nonconforming individuals in their communities and in many contemporary Native American and First Nations communities, these roles still exist.[318][319][320][321][322] Homosexual and gender-variant individuals were also common among other pre-conquest civilizations in Latin America, such as the Aztecs, Mayans, Quechuas, Moches, Zapotecs, and the Tupinambá of Brazil and were accepted in their various religions.[323][324]

It is important to note that the indigenous peoples of the Americas includes hundreds of cultures with varying views on sex, gender, and spirituality. Additionally, first nations and indigenous views on gender and sexuality may not fall within modern western categorizations of sex and gender.[325][326][327][328][329]

Pre-colonial religions of the Philippines

Main articles: Filipino shamans, Indigenous Philippine folk religions, and LGBT rights in the Philippines

Filipino shamans, often known as babaylan held positions of authority as religious leaders or healers in some precolonial Philippine societies.[330] Cross-dressing or non-gender conforming males sometimes took on the role of the female babaylan.[331] Early historical accounts record the existence of male babaylans who wore female clothes and took the demeanor of a woman.[332][333] Anatomy was not the only basis for gender. Being male or female was based primarily on occupation, appearance, actions and sexuality. A male babaylan could partake in romantic and sexual relations with other men without being judged by society.[334] A small number of Filipinos practice local indigenous religions today.[335]

Traditional religions of Pacific Islands

In Native Hawaiian and Tahitian cultures there are third gender people called māhū with traditional spiritual and social roles within the culture.[336][337][338][339][340] The term is similar to the Tongan fakaleiti and Samoan fa'afafine who were accepted in the traditional pre-colonial religions of their societies.[341][342][343][344]

New religious movements

Since the beginning of the sexual liberation movement in the Western world, which coincided with second-wave feminism and the women's liberation movement initiated in the early 1960s,[345][346] new religious movements and alternative spiritualities such as Modern Paganism and the New Age began to grow and spread across the globe alongside their intersection with the sexual liberation movement and the counterculture of the 1960s,[345][346] and exhibited characteristic features, such as the embrace of alternative lifestyles, unconventional dress, rejection of Abrahamic religions and their conservative social mores, use of cannabis and other recreational drugs, relaxed attitude, sarcastic humble or self-imposed poverty, and laissez-faire sexual behavior.[345][346] The sexual liberation movement was aided by feminist ideologues in their mutual struggle to challenge traditional ideas regarding female sexuality, male sexuality, and queer sexuality.[346] Elimination of undue favorable bias towards men and objectification of women, as well as support for women's right to choose their sexual partners free of outside interference or societal judgment, were three of the main goals associated with sexual liberation from the feminist perspective.[346]

Antoinism

Antoinism, a new religious movement founded in Belgium in 1910, does not provide any prescription on issues such as sexuality,[347] as it considers that this is not related to spirituality; homosexuality is not deemed a sin and there is nothing wrong to be gay and antoinist.[348]

Eckankar

Eckankar, an American new religious movement founded by Paul Twitchell in 1965, says on its website that "where legally recognized, same-sex marriages are performed, in the form of the ECK Wedding Ceremony, by ordained ministers of Eckankar".[349]

Modern Paganism

Most Neopagan religions have the theme of fertility (both physical and creative/spiritual) as central to their practices, and as such encourage what they view as a healthy sex life, consensual sex between adults, regardless of gender.

Heathenry, a modern Germanic Pagan movement, includes several pro-LGBT groups. Some groups legitimize openness toward LGBT practitioners by reference to the gender-bending actions of Thor and Odin in Norse mythology.[350][351] There are, for instance, homosexual and transgender members of The Troth, a prominent U.S. Heathen organisation.[352] Many Heathen groups in Northern Europe perform same-sex marriages,[353] and a group of self-described "Homo-Heathens" marched in the 2008 Stockholm Pride carrying a statue of the Norse god Freyr.[354] Research found a greater proportion of LGBT practitioners within Heathenry (21%) than wider society, although noted that the percentage was lower than in other forms of modern Paganism.[355]

Wicca, like other religions, has adherents with a broad spectrum of views, ranging from conservative to liberal. It is a largely nondogmatic religion and has no prohibitions against sexual intercourse outside of marriage or relationships between members of the same sex. The religion's ethics are largely summed up by the Wiccan Rede: "An it harm none, do as thou wilt", which is interpreted by many as allowing and endorsing responsible sexual relationships of all varieties. Specifically in the Wiccan tradition of modern witchcraft, one of the widely accepted pieces of Craft liturgy, the Charge of the Goddess instructs that "...all acts of love and pleasure are [the Goddess'] rituals",[356] giving validity to all forms of sexual activity for Wiccan practitioners.

In the Gardnerian and Alexandrian forms of Wicca, the "Great Rite" is a sex ritual much like the hieros gamos, performed by a priest and priestess who are believed to embody the Wiccan God and Goddess. The Great Rite is almost always performed figuratively using the athame and chalice as symbols of the penis and vagina. The literal form of the ritual is always performed by consenting adults, by a couple who are already lovers and in private. The Great Rite is not seen as an opportunity for casual sex.[357]

Neo-Druidism

The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids is a worldwide group dedicated to practicing, teaching, and developing modern Druidry and has more than 25,000 members in 50 countries. The Order is LGBT-affirming within a larger framework of support for civil rights, love of justice, and the love of all existences.[358]

Raëlism

Main article: Raëlism

Further information: Raëlian beliefs and practices

Raëlian participants attending the Korea Queer Culture Festival (2014)

Raëlism, an international new religious movement and UFO religion which was founded in France in 1974,[359][360] promotes a positive outlook towards human sexuality, including homosexuality.[359][360][361][362] Its founder Raël recognised same-sex marriage, and a Raëlian press release stated that sexual orientation is genetic and it also likened discrimination against gay people to racism.[363] Some Raëlian leaders have performed licensed same-sex marriages.[364]

Santa Muerte

The cult of Santa Muerte is a new religious movement[365] centered on the worship of Santa Muerte, a cult image, female deity, and folk saint which is popularly revered in Mexican Neopaganism and folk Catholicism.[366][367] A personification of death, she is associated with healing, protection, and safe delivery to the afterlife by her devotees.[368] Santa Muerte is also revered and seen as a saint and protector of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) communities in Mexico,[369][370][371][372][373] since LGBTQ+ people are considered and treated as outcasts by the Catholic Church, evangelical churches, and Mexican society at large.[369][370] Many LGBTQ+ people ask her for protection from violence, hatred, disease, and to help them in their search for love. Her intercession is commonly invoked in same-sex marriage ceremonies performed in Mexico.[374][375] The Iglesia Católica Tradicional México-Estados Unidos, also known as the Church of Santa Muerte, recognizes gay marriage and performs religious wedding ceremonies for homosexual couples.[376][377][378][379] According to R. Andrew Chesnut, PhD in Latin American history and professor of Religious studies, the cult of Santa Muerte is the single fastest-growing new religious movement in the Americas.[365]

Satanism

In both of the two primary mainstream Satanist denominations, sex is viewed as an indulgence, but one that should only be freely entered into with consent. The Satanic Temple appears to be more vocally supportive of the LGBTQIA+ community. Satanists from The Satanic Temple are pluralists, accepting bisexuals, lesbians, gays, transgender people, BDSM, and polyamorists. On 14 July 2013, The Satanic Temple travelled to the Mississippi gravesite of the mother of Westboro Baptist Church founder, Fred Phelps. They performed a 'pink mass' ritual, aiming to make Phelps believe that The Satanic Temple had "turned his mother gay".[380]

LaVeyan Satanism is critical of Abrahamic sexual mores, considering them narrow, restrictive and hypocritical. The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth which are specific to the Church of Satan, only give two instructions regarding sex: "Do not make sexual advances unless you are given the mating signal" and "Do not harm little children", though the latter is much broader and encompasses physical and other abuse.[381] This has been a consistent part of Church of Satan policy since its inception in 1966.[382]

In a 2004 essay supporting same-sex marriage:

The Church of Satan is the first church to fully accept members regardless of sexual orientation and so we champion weddings/civil unions between adult partners whether they be of opposite or the same sex. So long as love is present and the partners wish to commit to a relationship, we support their desire for a legally recognized partnership, and the rights and privileges which come from such a union.

— Magister Peter H. Gilmore[383]

Though the Church of Satan began marketing an anti-equality polo shirt in March 2015 just 3 months before the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, to the criticism of some, their site states that their purpose in doing so was to ″embrace the stratified & Darwinian reality of Nature to encourage strength, self-improvement & the mastery of diverse skills.″[384][citation needed]

Theistic Satanists also oppose homophobia.[385]

Wicca

Main article: Modern pagan views on LGBT people

Many Wiccans are generally welcoming of LGBTQ+ people. Wiccans tend to view sex in a positive light without guilt.[386] Some strands of Wicca go beyond welcoming queer people and actively celebrate gay relationships.[387]

See also

References

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