VHPA Position Paper on Same Gender Wedding
The World Hindu Council of America (VHPA) is often approached by members of the community, both Hindus and non-Hindus, to clarify its position on same-gender wedding. VHPA position on this matter, based on inputs from various scholars of Hindu Samskaras (sacraments) and priests from Hindu temples around the world, is stated below:
According to Hindu scriptures, a wedding is a religious sacrament (samskar) and a legally protected civil institution. As per the Vedic Hindu tradition, a wedding is only between man and a woman. During the process of wedding, the groom symbolizes Vishnu and the bride symbolizes Lakshmi. Thus the bride and groom both are accorded reverence as such. From kanyadaan, circumambulation around the fire and sapta-padi, to the recitation of vows by the bride and the groom ensuring their commitment to each other, the thought of anyone else besides a man and a woman marrying each other doesn’t even arise. Rigveda, the oldest book of mankind, a Hindu scripture, describes the steps involved in the wedding ceremony. In the ceremony, commitments are made by the couple to fulfill the duties of the householder stage. One of the most important duties is to have children in order to fulfill their obligation to sustain society through progeny, as seen in the steps of Akshata-ropana (marriage vows) and Sapta-padi (the rite of seven steps).
According to one of the senior priests in USA, “The wedding ceremony as described in the scripture (poorva Prayoga – Vedic) says that Dharma praja sampath abhivridyartham vivaha karma karishye, i.e., to give best citizens to the universe I am getting married. So there should be a male and a female for this.”
All Hindu Temples and places are open for worship to all the members of society.
Under the direction of Hindu Mandir Executives. Conference (HMEC), VHPA has published a book titled The Hindu Wedding Ceremony in 2011, which explains the Vedic concept and ritual of the Hindu Wedding in detail.