Germany has legalised same-sex marriage, after a clear majority of MPs voted in favour of the bill being passed into law on June 30. Almost twice as many MPs – 393 as compared to 226 – voted in support of the bill, that meant German legal code being amended to saying: “Marriage is entered into for life by two people of different or the same sex”.

Among those who voted No, include Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said that for her “marriage is between a man and a woman”. Even so, among those who voted Yes were each of the six Muslim MPs, from across the German political spectrum.

Cem Ozdemir, Ekin Deligoz, Ozcan Mutlu and Omid Nouripour from the centre-left Alliance 90/The Greens (known commonly as the Green Party) all voted in favour of the legislation. The party also launched rainbow confetti after the final count was announced.

Aydan Ozoguz, from the centre-left Social Democratic Party also voted Yes, after the party had been vocal in its support of same-sex marriage, calling Merkel’s delay in calling for the vote, “embarrassing.”

But what was even more resounding, was Cemile Giousouf from Merkel’s own conservative Christian Democratic Union party endorsing same-sex marriage in the vote.

This showcased that the across the board Muslim vote wasn’t just a case of the MPs simply toeing the party lines.

Of course what it doesn’t showcase is the general approach towards homosexuality in the Muslim world – far from it.

Exactly two years ago, the Supreme Court of the United States’ (SCOTUS) ruling on same-sex marriage in all American states was followed by Facebook releasing the Rainbow filter for display pictures. That rainbow filter, perhaps, did more to generate awareness about gay rights than any movement, especially in those parts of the world where even the mention of the subject is taboo – like most of the Muslim world.

Such has been rainbow-phobia since then that senior Pakistani journalist Ansar Abbasi, one day before the vote on the bill in the German bundestag, highlighted how ‘dangerous’ the colourful logo of Elementary and Secondary education department of the KP government is.

Following the rainbow filter’s introduction in 2015 Saudi Arabia also targeted the education sector with the rooftop parapet painted with rainbow stripes of Talaee Al-Noor school in Riyadh being reprimanded with a 100,000 riyal fine.

Of course the Muslim world’s homophobia isn’t limited to targeting rainbows on schools. The 10 countries that punish homosexuality by death are all Muslim. Uganda, their Christian majority brethren for so long, removed the capital punishment in 2014 and replaced it with life imprisonment.

At the United Nations, Muslim countries have formed a bloc against LGBT rights for the past decade and a half, since the issue was first deliberated. Votes had been derailed by the Muslim bloc, spearheaded by the OIC, since 2003, till UN finally passed a resolution in support of the LGBT in 2011.

And it needs to be underscored here that the right here, was not the right to marriage, but simply basic human rights. Yes, the Muslim countries’ bloc – including Pakistan – has been voting against UN’s resolution to prevent human rights violations of the LGBT.

Following the 2015 vote the count stands at 25-14 in favour of LGBT rights. Meanwhile, there still are 54 countries that are signatories to a statement opposing the LGBT at the UN – 39 of these are Muslim majority countries.

Furthermore, surveys have showed an overwhelming tendency to support harsh punishments for homosexuality in the Muslim world. For instance, a 2013 Pew survey said that 87% of Pakistanis back strict action against gays, a large share of them calling for death.

Just like orthodox Christians or Jews, the Muslim inertia facing gay rights is derived from the religious scriptures and tales of the People of Lot, for example. The only difference here is that a majority of the Christian and Jews have reformed their treatment of their scriptures, while the large part of the Muslim world still treats them literally. At a time when science has explained the phenomenon of homosexuality as perfectly natural, the need for Islamic reform in this regard is evident.

When we talk about religious reform, it never means a change in text. It simply means reinterpreting certain ideas, taking others as they are and shelving many that aren’t compatible with current times, if read literally. There are many reformist Muslims endeavouring to achieve precisely this at this very moment, vying to ensure that being a gay Muslim would be not be a paradox any more than a gay Jew or Christian.

Let’s not forget that orthodox religion does not believe in equality of men and women either and it has been reformative interpretations that have allowed gender equality to not be contradictory to one’s religious identity or heritage. Eventually the same would happen on the homosexuality front as well.

While the German Muslim MPs are clearly more progressive than Muslim societies around the globe, we need to learn from their examples and help lay the foundation of a progressive Muslim world.

Yes, there might be considerable time before a majority of the Muslim world would be able to say Yes to marriage equality, but we can start with recognising the basic human rights of the LGBT. We have many prominent Muslims whose lead we can follow.

The writer is a freelance columnist based in Lahore.