Dalai Lama says no problem with gay marriage

The celibate Dalai Lama has thrown his considerable moral weight behind gay marriage, condemning homophobia and saying sex was fine as long as it was consensual.

The Buddhist monk offered his views on the hot-button social issue during his latest tour of the United States, where he was welcomed Thursday in Washington by top lawmakers and offered the customary prayer that opens each Senate session.

The Dalai Lama, in an interview, said that gay marriage was up to each government and was ultimately “individual business.”

“If two people — a couple — really feel that way is more practical, more sort of satisfaction, both sides fully agree, then okay,” he told an online talk show by veteran radio and television host Larry King.

The Dalai Lama said though that people should still follow their own religions’ rules on sexuality.

“But then for a non-believer, that is up to them. So there are different forms of sex — so long (as it is) safe, okay, and (if both people) fully agree, okay,” the Dalai Lama said in English.

“Bully, abuse — that’s totally wrong. That’s a violation of human rights,” he said.

The Dalai Lama is Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader and one of the most prominent leaders in Buddhism.

Gay marriage has won growing acceptance in the Western world and Latin America. But no predominantly Buddhist nation allows gay marriage, although several places with Buddhist influence including Nepal, Taiwan and Vietnam have increasingly debated the issue.

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