Feb 2019
Hi everyone,

I am a happy gay man in a loving relationship and my father has become bahai. He says he cannot attend my wedding. Should I disown him as my father? He has routinely made pejorative jokes about homosexuals. I am torn because I would not want him to be ostracised from my family.

Thanks for your advice.

Mar 2013
Edwardsville, Illinois, USA
Hi, Jim.

If as you say your father has made pejorative jokes about homosexuals, that may reflect where he is at in terms of how he deals with homosexuality at present, but it is not the standard of behavior that Baha'is should follow in my opinion. There is a reason why anti-homosexual feelings are referred to as "homophobia", because they are driven by fear. As we grow spiritually, we can overcome our fears, and should especially try to do so if those fears cause harm to others.

As I am sure you are aware, according to Baha'i teachings we should observe chastity outside of marriage, and that marriage is between a man and a woman. Since you are not a Baha'i you are under no obligation to follow that, of course, and Baha'is should not judge your decision to get married according to that standard.

There have been several discussion on this forum and elsewhere where some Baha'is have expressed that they would not be able to attend a gay wedding even for their son or daughter, and other feel that they absoultely can and should. In my view, it's realy a question whether that person can put aside his or her fears and let love for the child prevail.
Likes: Trailblazer
Aug 2018
I have a lot of experience with this. I want to write to you responsibly about it but I also feel an urgency, so I will make a little note now. As @joc said you are not a Bahá'í. To be anything less than loving and compassionate is not consistent with the Bahá'í Faith. I had a family member who was bisexual. Sadly, he passed away in '92, complications from AIDS. I've thought a lot about this subject. This person was (is in the next world) a great spirit. I have some random things to throw out here. One is something a friend just texted me on an unrelated subject but relevant comment. She wrote:

I know folks who didn't want to give up fine wine or screwing and that's very different to me than being queer and not wanting to live a lie or even being called to political service, like the husband of a friend of mine who Amatu'l Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum told to not join the Faith because none of the rest of us could become a leader in a country, but he was destined to be just that, and he did become that and he often consulted with the UHJ, not as a formality or polite exercise, but to gain their insight on the governance of a nation. So.. it's not ever a clean dichotomy...

Serendipity that she happened to say that as I was thinking about what you wrote. I have two quotes I think about when I see people being judgemental. I keep a diary of things I have studied in the Bahá'í Writings. The issues are not yours but the principle remains the same. The friend was told not to become a Bahá'í because we are not permitted to engage in partisan politics. That's a rather unusual situation. I thought it was relevant because, his being a politician does not make him less of a person. We are held to the standard proscribed by our Faith. I do not think less of people, for example, who drink wine. I don't drink wine because my Faith prohibits it. It doesn't make the rules I live by arbitrary either.

Protection of civil liberties in a Bahá’í World Order
… the mere fact of disaffection, estrangement, or recantation of belief, can in no wise detract from, or otherwise impinge upon, the legitimate civil rights of individuals in a free society, be it to the most insignificant degree. Were the friends to follow other than this course, it would be tantamount to a reversion on their part, in this century of radiance and light, to the ways and standards of a former age: they would reignite in men’s breasts the fire of bigotry and blind fanaticism, cut themselves off from the glorious bestowals of this promised Day of God, and impede the full flow of divine assistance in this wondrous age.

Shoghi Effendi to the Bahá’ís of Iran, written in July 1925

UHJ Selected Messages

Love and compassion not force and coercion
It is better to guide one soul than to possess all that is on earth, for as long as that guided soul is under the shadow of the Tree of Divine Unity, he and the one who hath guided him will both be recipients of God’s tender mercy, whereas possession of earthly things will cease at the time of death. The path to guidance is one of love and compassion, not of force and coercion. This hath been God’s method in the past, and shall continue to be in the future! He causeth him whom He pleaseth to enter the shadow of His Mercy. Verily, He is the Supreme Protector, the All-Generous.

(Selections from the Writings of the Báb)

I will think about your post some more. I hope I will find more insightful references for you. I am happy for you that you have love in your life. Don't be discouraged. Your father just needs to gain more insight into this issue. It will be good for him spiritually to overcome this old world way of thinking about your life. I don't have answers about homosexuality and the Bahá'í Faith. What I do know is does not contravene your being a radiant and loving soul. Love and compassion is the most important thing. Be compassionate with him as well. It may take him time, maybe a lifetime, but family unity is of utmost importance.
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Jul 2017
Olympia, WA, USA
Hi everyone,

I am a happy gay man in a loving relationship and my father has become bahai. He says he cannot attend my wedding. Should I disown him as my father? He has routinely made pejorative jokes about homosexuals. I am torn because I would not want him to be ostracised from my family.

Thanks for your advice.

I am sorry to hear this. This is not the way any Baha'i should behave. It is against the basic teachings of the Baha'i Faith that state they we are all one people, so discrimination is against the Baha'i teachings. Maybe your father has a bias and is using the Baha'i Faith to support it, but it is not supported. There is a Baha'i Law that only allows marriage between a man and a woman but that does not apply to anyone else except Baha'is.

Frankly, I have much more respect for homosexuals who get married than I have for heterosexuals who live together out of wedlock. The former shows character and commitment, the latter shows quite the opposite.
Likes: Sen McGlinn
Jun 2014
Should I disown him as my father?
I am certainly not knowledgeable enough on the situation to answer such a question, but I think you may answer that question yourself later in your post:
I would not want him to be ostracised from my family.

To the larger point:
He says he cannot attend my wedding.

I do not think he is correct on that, at least if he is trying to use the Faith as a reason why he "cannot".

I'm fairly certain there are Baha'is out there who agree to attend their friends' weddings without knowing whether-or-not parental consent has been obtained. It's almost assuredly the case that no non-Baha'i wedding has a dowry of nineteen mithqals of gold. So I'd think that any Baha'i attending any wedding without a Baha'i involved is attending a wedding that in some manner does not align with Baha'i Law. So it would seem to me that, divorced from the topic of gay marriage, Baha'i Law is never used as an excuse for why someone cannot attend a wedding in any other case.

I don't know the full details of the situation so I can't presume to say anything certainly, but currently I don't see how the logic adds up for saying he "cannot attend" the wedding. Would he attend a wedding where the proper dowry is not exchanged??
Sep 2018
first of all, congratulations on getting married, and finding love.
secondly, i don't think there are any laws prohibiting anyone from attending a wedding in the bahai faith.

as to your question:
"Should I disown him as my father?"
if you ask me, no. love him instead, its much easier ;)
"In the garden of thy heart, plant naught but the rose of love"
Likes: Trailblazer

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