In a move that is both real but also has huge symbolic implications, the Washington National Cathedral has decided to perform same-sex weddings.
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 will announce its new policy Wednesday.A few more thoughts below.
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. It draws hundreds of thousands of visitors.
First, this decision was encouraged by two events: DC's legalizing same-sex marriages
Same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia was legalized on December 18, 2009, when mayor Adrian Fenty signed a bill passed by the Council of the District of Columbia on December 15, 2009. Following the signing the measure entered a mandatory Congressional review of 30 work days. Marriage licenses became available on March 3, 2010, and marriages began on March 9, 2010. The District became the first jurisdiction in the United States below the Mason–Dixon Line to allow same-sex couples to marry.and then Maryland's following suitin the last election
Same-sex marriage in the U.S. state of Maryland became legal on January 1, 2013.Second, National Cathedral is an absolutely beautiful edifice.
The Civil Marriage Protection Act was signed by Governor Martin O'Malley on March 1, 2012, which provided same-sex couples the opportunity to obtain a civil marriage license while protecting religious institutions from having to perform any marriage in violation of their doctrine. Some who opposed the law obtained signatures in a referendum petition to place the law on the state's general election ballot for approval or rejection by voters. On November 6, 2012, the measure passed with 52.4% of the vote as one of the first instances in which voters approved same-sex marriage at the ballot.
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."Sometimes it feels as if we're making no progress. At other times we do - and sometimes it feels so natural when we do it, that we wonder why we were not doing this all along.
"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."
Tired of politics? Need to escape? Try my Greek mythology based novels, either the story of Oedipus from the point of view of Jocasta, or a trilogy about Niobe, whose children were murdered by the gods - or were they?