In a message from Dean Gary Hall forwarded to We Love DC, the National Cathedral announced to members late yesterday that they would begin to hold same-sex wedding ceremonies in the main sanctuary of the church:
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, Bishop Mariann Budde announced last month that the diocese would now allow this expansion of the sacrament, which then led to my decision for the Cathedral’s adaptation of the same-sex rite.
The Church does limit who may be married at the Cathedral by policy:
All weddings at the Cathedral are conducted as Christian marriages in which the couple commits to lifelong faithfulness, love, forbearance, and mutual comfort. At least one person in the couple, therefore, must have been baptized. Only couples directly affiliated with the life of the Cathedral—as active, contributing members of the congregation; as alumni or alumnae of the Cathedral schools; as individuals who have made significant volunteer or donor contributions over a period of time; or those judged to have played an exceptional role in the life of the nation—are eligible to be married at the Cathedral.
We welcome this news, and are encouraged by the tolerance and understanding that the Episcopal church in the District is demonstrating.