One standard feature at a Japanese wedding reception is the bride and groom holding a knife and cutting the wedding cake together. Perhaps, will the sight of the people holding the knife at that moment, the climax of the reception, being two women no longer be unusual in the near future?
The controversy that arose in a cake shop in the state of Iowa, USA in November 2011 is a local issue but involves a difficult problem for religions. The owner of a cake shop in the capital Des Moines made a wedding cake sample for two female customers to taste. According to local TV station KCCI, when the shop owner realized the two women were not sisters as she had assumed but a lesbian couple about to get married, she told them, “I’ll tell you I’m a Christian, and I do have convictions. I’m sorry to tell you, but I’m not going to be able to do your cake.”
The two women left the shop without a fuss but not long after masses of hate mail started arriving at the shop. One of the women told KCCI, “It was degrading. I know Jesus loves me. I just wanted to go there for a cake.” The couple submitted a statement to the KCCI website saying, “Awareness of equality was our only goal in bringing this to light.” The Iowa Civil Rights Act was amended in 2007 to include protections for sexual orientation. The couple had not decided whether they would file a Civil Rights complaint against the baker.
“I’m being attacked because of my beliefs－my convictions to their lifestyle,” the shop owner said. She has stopped reading the hate mail but has also received a positive reaction along with some cake orders. “People are telling me they were proud of me for standing up for my beliefs.” However, there has been mounting criticism from others in the industry including other cake shops.
Does same-sex love warrant the death penalty?
Those apart from Christians probably don’t know what the Bible says about same-sex love. In Leviticus 20:13 of the Old Testament, there is the Jewish principle, “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death.” Christianity has traditionally considered same-sex love as a crime but Jesus’ statement prohibiting same-sex love has not been reported.
At Master Ryuho Okawa’s Q&A session at Happy Science’s General Headquarters in Tokyo on March 12, 2008, a Japanese staff member asked the following question. “I saw many same-sex couples when I was in America. With the spread of Happy Science in America, I think there will also be many gay and lesbian members. Same-sex couples may want to get married at Happy Science branches. How should we deal with the situation if it arises?”
Below is a summary of part of Master Okawa’s answer.