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01/09/2013

National Cathedral exercises its religious freedom; sure to tick off those who make constant 'religious freedom' claims

by Jeremy Hooper

Another historic development in an era where history is being made every day:

Washington, D.C.—The Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of Washington National Cathedral, has announced that, effective immediately, same-sex weddings may be celebrated at the Cathedral.

“Washington National Cathedral has a long history of advancing equality for people of all faiths and perspectives,” said Hall. “The Cathedral is called to serve as a gathering place for the nation in times of significance, but it is also rooted in its role as the most visible faith community within the Episcopal Church. For more than 30 years, the Episcopal Church has prayed and studied to discern the evidence of God’s blessing in the lives of same-sex couples. It is now only fitting that the National Cathedral follow suit. We enthusiastically affirm each person as a beloved child of God—and doing so means including the full participation of gays and lesbians in the life of this spiritual home for the nation.”

Consistent with the canons of the Episcopal Church, the Cathedral will begin celebrating same-sex marriage ceremonies using a rite adapted from an existing blessing ceremony approved in August 2012 by the Church at its General Convention. That approval allowed for the bishops who oversee each diocese within the Church to decide whether or not to allow the rite’s use or to allow celebration of same-sex marriage. In light of the legality of civil marriage for same-sex couples in the District of Columbia and Maryland, the Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde (whose Episcopal Diocese of Washington includes D.C. and four counties in Maryland), decided in December 2012 to allow this expansion of the sacrament. Hall, as dean of the National Cathedral, ultimately led the Cathedral’s decision and adaptation of the same-sex rite.

KEEP READING:Washington National Cathedral to Celebrate Same-sex Weddings [National Cathedral]

A nice option for those who wish to utilize it. But remember, the religious ceremony is always an ancillary component of our civil marriage debate. If we say that to those faith voices who wish to stand against marriage equality, then we must say the same thing when a supportive house of worship stands with progress.

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