A global coalition of more than 40 organisations and 150 individuals have endorsed a multi-faith statement of solidarity with Sri Ranganathan Kurrukal, a Hindu priest based in Toronto, Canada, who faced harassment and death threats for conducting a same-sex marriage ceremony.
Kurrukal agreed to conduct the ceremony after the couple had been rejected by numerous Hindu temples and priests in the area. This led to a severe backlash from his family and conservative members of the community.
Kurrukal says he received multiple death threats by text, phone, and social media. Some Toronto Hindu organizations have pushed Kurrukal out and he is facing exclusion from a local association of Hindu priests. The Hindu Priest Association of Canada issued a statement declaring that it “strongly condemns the marriage … We urge you to make it clear that in the future, other clergy will not follow suit.”
One person has already been arrested by Toronto Police Services for uttering threats and criminal harassment.
The multi-faith statement was drafted by US-based organization Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus, and states:
We condemn this backlash against a religious leader who sought to honor and celebrate the love between two LGBTQ+ community members. We stand in solidarity with Sri Ranganathan Kurrukal … Indeed, homophobia and transphobia betray the values of compassion and social justice that lie at the heart of all our faith traditions. We must resist homophobia and transphobia wherever they manifest and commit to uplifting inclusive religious leadership in all of our communities.
Dozens of Hindu priests and community leaders endorsed the statement, including Amara Das Wilhelm (President/Founder, Gay And Lesbian Vaishnava Association), Anantanand Rambachan (Professor of Religion, Saint Olaf College), Brahmacharini Shweta Chaitanya, Pravrajika Vrajaprana (Senior Sannyasini, Vedanta Society of Southern California) and Sushma Dwivedi (Purple Pundit Project). The statement was endorsed by Hindu temples and South Asian organizations such as Vishnu Mandir (Richmond Hill, Ontario), Hindus for Human Rights (USA, UK, and ANZ chapters), Desi Rainbow Parents & Allies, and Jaffna Transgender Network.
The statement also received endorsements from over 100+ organizations, religious leaders, and concerned community members from diverse faith traditions, including the Buddhist Council of New York, Chicago Theological Seminary, Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America, GreenFaith, Muslims for Progressive Values, Parity, United Church of Christ, and members of Jewish Voice for Peace’s Rabbinical Council.
Signatures came from several countries, including Canada, USA, Australia, Sri Lanka, India, China, Hong Kong, France, the Netherlands, Iraq, Mexico, Portugal, and more.