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National Cathedral Will Host Same-Sex Marriages

Washington National Cathedral, the seat of the Episcopal Church in the United States, will soon be the sight of same-sex marriage ceremonies:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington National Cathedral, where the nation gathers to mourn tragedies and celebrate new presidents, will soon begin hosting same-sex marriages.

Cathedral officials tell The Associated Press the church will be among the first Episcopal congregations to implement a new rite of marriage for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members. The church announced its new policy Wednesday.

As the nation’s most prominent church, the decision carries huge symbolism. The 106-year-old cathedral has long been a spiritual center for the nation, hosting presidential inaugural services and funerals for Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his last sermon there in 1968. The cathedral draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

In light of the legality of same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia and now Maryland, the Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, the Episcopal bishop of Washington, decided in December to allow an expansion of the Christian marriage sacrament. The diocese covers the district and four counties in Maryland. The change is allowed under a “local option” granted by the church’s General Convention, church leaders said. Each priest in the diocese can then decide whether to perform same-sex unions.

The Very Rev. Gary Hall, the cathedral’s dean, said performing same-sex marriages is an opportunity to break down barriers and build a more inclusive community “that reflects the diversity of God’s world.”

“I read the Bible as seriously as fundamentalists do,” Hall told the AP. “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.”

Issues surrounding same-sex marriage and the ordination of openly gay priests have split the Episcopal Church here in the United States, as well as the larger Anglican Union as a whole. Churches have left the Episcopal Church, and many conservative Anglicans have begun to take advantage of the Catholic Church’s new special rite for Anglican’s who wish to rejoin the Roman Catholic Church. One wonders if developments like this will continue the Episcopal devolution.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. legion says:

    “I read the Bible as seriously as fundamentalists do,” Hall told the AP. “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.”

    This. A thousand times this. Rev Hall is clearly a very religious man, but one who actually _thinks_ about his faith.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  2. Janis Gore says:

    This could be a rowdy thread.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Nikki says:

    They’re gonna make a ton of money.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. David says:

    I always thought the place that really needs to legalize same sex marriages is Nevada, Las Vegas could use the tourism boost.

    As to having same sex marriages in the National Cathedral, the religious right should be supporting this as freedom of religion for the denomination that operates it. They won’t, but they should.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  5. 11B40 says:

    Greetings:

    Any word on whether the Episcopos will be opening a “glory hole” or two just to make every one feel comfortable ???

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 18

  6. An Interested Party says:

    Any word on whether the Episcopos will be opening a “glory hole” or two just to make every one feel comfortable ???

    Apparently, living in the San Francisco area causes some people to become homophobic douchebags…perhaps this asshole is really Michael Weiner, er, Savage…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  7. Franklin says:

    The Very Rev. Gary Hall

    I love the title. Is this common in the Episcopalian church?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Brett says:

    @Franklin:

    Very Rev. is the title given to Cathedral deans, so it is overall not very common.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Lambs and Lions! Cats and dogs! This is the end of AMERICA!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  10. Mikey says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Lambs and Lions! Cats and dogs! This is the end of AMERICA!!!!

    Mass hysteria!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. mattb says:

    @Janis Gore:

    This could be a rowdy thread.

    But, thanks to the changes we have gone through as a nation, outside of the occasional knucklehead, it isn’t a rowdy thread.

    More evidence that same-sex marriage is the new normal despite the fears of social-cons.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  12. Janis Gore says:

    No, the social-cons have all gone off to sites that are more amenable to their views.

    OTB is now a hotbed of leftism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  13. Janis Gore says:

    And YOU, mattb, are one of the worst — frickin’ Ivy elitist!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. Janis Gore says:

    I bet you’ve even read Alinsky.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Janis Gore says:

    Don’t even try to argue with me, mattb. In my heart, I know I’m right. Also, too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. Bob says:

    @legion: The problem is Reverand Hall is misinterpreting his readings of the bible. Only the Catholic Church, through Saint Peter, was given the guidance of the holy spirit to “bind and loose” what is correctly Christ’s teachings. That is why there are over 30,00 Protestant faiths in the world that are teaching in error and contradicting even each other on what Christ meant in His teaching by trying to interpret scripture outside of the Catholic Church. Think about it: did Christ really want the confusion of 30,0000 churches each teaching contradictory things on what He taught the apostles and disciples? And does anyone wonder where the bible and the canon of the New Testament came from? It came from four councils of the Catholic Church starting in the year 383 AD., the Catholic Church is therefore the rightful interpreter of scripture. Christ did not give us a book (the bible)He gaves us a Church (the Catholic Church) that then gave us the canon of scripture, the bible. By thinking that Christ would have condoned Gay marriage Reverand Hall (and the Episcopal Church) are teaching in error.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  17. Janis Gore says:

    I raise you the Nag Hammadi Library, Bob.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  18. Mikey says:

    @Bob: So, should we walk around with only one shoe, or should we gather shoes?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  19. grumpy realist says:

    @Bob: sorry, basically your spiritual authority has boiled down to: “because we say so and we hounded into extinction all those who thought differently.”

    Anyone who thinks that the Petrine church has any more proof of justification for its claim of authority than, well, its claim of authority has to be smoking something. It’s pretty obvious that your bloody Catholics have absolutely NO idea about your own history!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  20. Franklin says:

    @Bob:

    Only the Catholic Church, through Saint Peter, was given the guidance of the holy spirit to “bind and loose” what is correctly Christ’s teachings.

    … according to the Catholic Church, of course.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  21. jd says:

    @Bob: Something not mentioned in the Bible — the Catholic Church.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  22. c.red says:

    Only the Catholic Church, through Saint Peter, was given the guidance of the holy spirit to “bind and loose” what is correctly Christ’s teachings.

    I’m pretty certain that the Eastern Orthodox Church, which considers the Roman Catholic Church to be schismatic and a bunch of upstarts would disagree.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  23. legion says:

    @Bob:

    the Catholic Church is therefore the rightful interpreter of scripture

    I can find at least 30,000 people who’ll disagree with that. And that’s even before I start asking people who _aren’t_ Christians. You try to put a reasonable face on it, Bob, but you’re really the exact reason why the Catholic Church (and organized religion in general) are rapidly sinking in popularity and participation in the US. Your entire statement boils down to:
    Catholicism is the One True Faith because the Bible says so, and only Catholics get to “properly” interpret the Bible.

    Do you not see how pompous, how inherently insulting that statement is? It’s not enough for you to have a faith that guides and comforts you, you have to go out of your way to degrade and diminish the faith of others? Jesus did not teach that, and neither should the Catholic Church.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  24. Argon says:

    Isn’t it saying something that ‘meh’ is an acceptable response? The next generation isn’t going to understand how backwards we were.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. Bob says:

    @grumpy realist: Really, no idea of our history? The Catholic Church can show apostolic succession…..can yours?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  26. An Interested Party says:

    Really, no idea of our history? The Catholic Church can show apostolic succession…..can yours?

    It’s always nice when religion gets boiled down to a pissing match…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  27. Bob says:

    @jd: So who decided the 27 books that are in the New Testament? There were approximately 55 epistles/gospels that were circulating then, who decided which ones were inspired and to be included in the canon of scripture, and which ones not? Who decided to include the Gospel of John, but not the Didache? To include the Book of Revelation, but not to include the gospel of Jude, book of Hermes, the letters of Clement, the Gospel of Peter? It must have been a group of men guided by the Holy Spirit that decided infallibly what books to include in the bible, which books not to include? Who were these men with such great divine authority to do this? And if they were given the authority to choose which books to include, should they not have been given the authority to properly interpret them? Could it have been the bishops of the Catholic Church?

    My whole point is the Episcopal Church has wandered far from the teachings of the apostles. They have no authority to say Christ would have deemed gay marriage OK. The last I checked, the 2000 year teaching that sodomy (which a gay male couple engages in) is sinful and immoral has not changed. Therefore in Christianity, gay marriage can never be condoned. By “marrying” gay couples, the Episcopal Church is saying that the act of sodomy is moral and licit, and it is not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  28. Bob says:

    @c.red: Eastern Orthodox Church split from the Catholic Church. Eastern Orthodox Church does have apostolic succession and valid orders and sacraments. The Orthodox Church like the Catholic Church has always condemned sodomy as gravely sinful, and therefore can never condone gay marriage. So how does the Episcopal Church say gay marriage is OK?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  29. Bob says:

    @legion: Not being pompous or insulting, only speaking truth.

    If one Church teaches gay marriage is immoral (Catholic Church) and another church (Episcopal Church) says gay marriage is OK and moral, who’s right and therefore teaches the truth of Christ on this issue? Can both be right…….no. I don’t think Christ sent out half of the apostles to teach that sodomy is against God’s will, and also sent out the other other apostles to teach the opposite that sodomy is OK.

    The Anglican/Episcopalean church has always followed the 2000 year teching from the apostles that sodomy was a sin. Why have they done a 180 degree on this recently? When and why did sodomy in the eyes of the Episcopal Church go from being gravely sinful to being morally licit?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  30. Bob says:

    @grumpy realist: Christ gave the apostles the authority to teach in his name (Luke: “he who hears you, hears me”). The bishops of the Catholic Church have had a direct handing down of that teaching authority from the apostles.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  31. legion says:

    @Bob:

    Not being pompous or insulting, only speaking truth.

    Not one of those words means what you think it means.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  32. Mikey says:

    @An Interested Party:

    It’s always nice when religion gets boiled down to a pissing match…

    We should be thankful it’s just internet bickering.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  33. Mikey says:

    @Bob:

    The bishops of the Catholic Church have had a direct handing down of that teaching authority from the apostles.

    So they say.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  34. Mikey says:

    @Bob:

    My whole point is the Episcopal Church has wandered far from the teachings of the apostles. They have no authority to say Christ would have deemed gay marriage OK.

    They have exactly the same authority as the Catholic Church. “Because we say so.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  35. Franklin says:

    It’s clearly not my place to argue, since I can’t get beyond the “guided by the Holy Spirit” bit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  36. @Bob: I think the person you’re looking for is Constantine, who decided to censor any part of the Bible that wasn’t to his liking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  37. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @legion: I’m pretty sure he used “or” correctly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0