The Washington National Cathedral is preparing to start performing weddings of gay and lesbian couples.
According to the AP, the church will be among the first Episcopal congregations to implement a new rite of marriage for LGBT members.
The 106-year-old cathedral has a storied history steeped in presidential traditions. The cathedral’s foundation stone was laid in the presence of President Theodore Roosevelt and its last finial was placed in the presence of President George W. Bush in 1990. It also plays host to presidential inaugural services. And the funerals of Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford took place at the Washington National Cathedral.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of visitors tour the structure, the fourth largest in the District of Columbia.
Passage of a gay marriage law in Maryland prompted the Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, the Episcopal bishop of Washington, to begin offering the rite. The diocese includes the district, where such unions have been legal since 2010, and four counties in Maryland.
The cathedral’s dean, Very Rev. Gary Hall, told the AP that offering the right is an opportunity to build a community “that reflects the diversity of God’s world.”
“I read the Bible as seriously as fundamentalists do,” he said. “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,” he added.
The Episcopal Church approved creation of a rite for gay unions at its 2009 General Convention, and gave final approval at last year’s convention.
by Carlos Santoscoy
Source – On Top Magazine