(Picture above may not relate to this post)
(Just for viewing pleasure)
I have seen many references to abstaining from sexual misconduct, and know that in traditional western faiths homosexuality is placed in this category. What is the Buddhist view on this?
Thank you for asking me.
To abstain from sexual misconduct is the third of the 5 precepts which a good Buddhist would abide. The purpose of keeping the 5 precepts is to keep us away from troubles and problems. The emphasis here is "misconduct". If one is having extra sexual affairs with all and sundry, it is sexual misconduct. We all know the problems and troubles this type of sexual misconduct will create. Sexual misconduct does not necessarily mean illegal sex, which is against the country's laws. As the key word is "misconduct", it implies our misbehaviour in sexual activities. If a couple is sincerely in love, whether legally married or not, their sexual activities should not be construed as sexual misconduct. However, if the particular society or culture dictates that couples should be legally married, then it is their social and legal responsibilities to abide by the rules.
I am not an expert in this rather controversial topic of homosexuality. However, from my personal point of view, homosexuality is a dysfunction caused by psychological problems and/or genes. The precept just states "sexual misconduct". I would not construe sexual activities between 2 homosexuals as "sexual misconduct" if they do not extend their sexual activities with other parties. So long as they keep their sexual relationship within themselves, I don't see any harm or trouble that they may cause to others, or themselves.
Just to reiterate; the 5 precepts are for us to practise so that we do not court troubles and problems for ourselves and to others. So long as we live a dignified, noble, and harmless life, we should be able to live in peace with ourselves and with the society.