Washington, DC’s historic National Cathedral has announced that it will now host same-sex weddings, making it one of the first Episcopal congregations to implement a new rite for same-gender blessings. The Cathedral’s dean, the Very Rev. Gary Hall, explained that the change is an “important symbolic moment” for fulfilling Christian faith:
HALL: I read the Bible as seriously as fundamentalists do. And my reading of the Bible leads me to want to do this because I think it’s being faithful to the kind of community that Jesus would have us be. As a kind of tall-steeple, public church in the nation’s capital, by saying we’re going to bless same-sex marriages, conduct same-sex marriages, we are really trying to take the next step for marriage equality in the nation and in the culture.
For us to be able to say we embrace same-sex marriage as a tool for faithful people to live their lives as Christian people, for us to be able to say that at a moment when so many other barriers toward full equality and full inclusion for gay and lesbian people are falling, I think it is an important symbolic moment.
Same-sex marriage is legal in both DC and now in neighboring Maryland, as well as eight other states. Such weddings will likely not take place in the National Cathedral anytime soon due to its busy schedule. In addition, for couples to wed there, one member of the couple must be baptized into the Church. Still, same-sex weddings might take place before the end of the year. All couples wed in the Cathedral commit to a Christian marriage of “lifelong faithfulness, love, forbearance, and mutual comfort.”