by Pamela Taylor, co-founder of Muslims for Progressive Values
Like the Bible, and most other religious texts, the Qur'an doesn't have any verse that says, "God has made you black and white, male and female, straight and gay. Be you as brothers to one another, working, eating, praying, loving as one family." On the other hand, it also does not say "Marriage is only between one man and one woman," or even "between one man and up to four women."
There is a clear assumption in many passages in the Qur'an that marriage is between men and women. Passages that talk about how a couple should decide when to wean a child, what times of day it is permissible to have sexual relations during Ramadan, or what to do when conflict arises and a divorce seems the best solution.
But other passages -- passages that talk about the fundamental nature of human relationships as a duality -- do not have a gender dichotomy. The word "zauj," often translated as mate or spouse, signifies one half of a partnership, both husband and wife. This is a powerful concept which affirms the fundamental equality of both spouses and leaves room for a genderless conception of human partnering.