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The Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity (MASGD) applauds the Supreme Court of the United States of America for deciding in favor of marriage equality on June 26, 2015. Like many of our fellow Muslims, we believe our faith requires us to stand on the side of justice—and we believe that this decision represents the most just outcome of the case brought to the Court.
As an organization devoted to supporting, empowering and connecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and trans* Muslims, MASGD knows that this decision will have a significant impact on the realities and the morale of many families within our communities —from smoothing the paths of bi-national couples who wish to live and marry in the U.S. to extending health-care and other benefits exclusively available through marriage, and to ensuring that more children of queer parents are protected by the legal recognition of their families. We are appreciative of the personal sacrifices of the families who have opened their lives to long-term judicial and public scrutiny, during this struggle, in order to demand justice that would extend far beyond their own lives.
MASGD also knows that legal victories for civil rights—such as marriage equality—do not ensure justice for our communities. MASGD takes this moment to celebrate, and to reflect: our work continues. Let us honor the legacy of activism and stories that have brought us here: let this moment serve as a call to action to stand shoulder to shoulder against insidious violence against our collective communities that remain in effect. Let us lift up the connections that our liberation depends on -- let us denounce police and vigilante violence and make explicit linkages between white supremacy to racial and religious profiling based on lived bodies and experiences -- whether based on perceived gender, faith, race, and/or immigration status.
We are acutely aware that the Supreme Court ruling followed closely on the heels of an act of homegrown terrorism, in which a white man entered a church and murdered nine Black people during a Bible study. In a period of 10 days, 8 historically Black churches were engulfed in flames. 152 years after the Emancipation Proclamation and 51 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, racial equity remains elusive in the United States, and pervasive effects of anti-Black racism run rampant. As an expressly multiracial, mixed gender organization representing the breadth of Muslim communities, we are no strangers to policing and profiling of Black and brown bodies. As queer and trans* people, we are no strangers to institutional violence -- among families of origin, places of worship, or at the hands of the state. As queer and trans* Muslims and immigrants, we are no strangers to intergenerational trauma, forced migration and systems that cannot fail us simply because our protection was never part of their design.
Many queer and trans* Muslims face harassment and expulsion from their religious communities, while others may experience nominal tolerance only to be denied opportunities to be actively involved in community life and leadership. Some queer and trans* Muslims experience ostracism and abuse from their families of origin, who justify their actions with religious rhetoric. Meanwhile, Muslims of all sexual orientations and gender identities continue to be the targets of hate crimes. According to the FBI, hate crimes against Muslims today are five times higher than before September 11, 2001. These acts of violence range from vandalism of mosques (Edmond, OK; Manassas, VA; Washington, DC) and Islamic schools (West Warwick, RI) to murder (Chapel Hill, NC).
As Muslims, we recognize that marriage equality reflects Islam’s most sacred teachings of compassion and mercy. Also as Muslims, we are compelled by our faith to stand up for justice and to strive for a world in which all people are valued, safe, and free.
In solidarity –
The MASGD Steering Committee
The Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity (MASGD) works to support, empower and connect LGBTQ Muslims. We seek to challenge root causes of oppression, including misogyny and xenophobia. We aim to increase the acceptance of gender and sexual diversity within Muslim communities, and to promote a progressive understanding of Islam that is centered on inclusion, justice, and equality.