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According to the Huffington Post, CBS News and CNN (among others), the Episcopal Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, more familiarly known as "The National Cathedral" has announced that it will start performing same-sex marriages.

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.
So, basically (for now) in states that have legal marriage equality, it's up to the individual priests (probably with some direction from their bishop) to decide whether to perform same-sex marriages or not.  Yes, that's Bishop Mariann Budde - she is definitely a woman.  

Here are some words from the Cathedral Dean:

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."

Well said, sir.  Needless to say, the comments in various links have ranged all over the place - but the fact is, one of the oldest and most storied churches in our country now recognizes the equal rights of all our citizens.

That makes two - the Cathedral Church of St. Mark in Seattle will also start performing same-sex weddings this spring.

ETA:  Make that four - I believe the Cathedral in Boston also allows same-sex marriage.  Thanks to sfbob for cluing me in to the Episcopal Cathedral Church of St. Luke, in Portland Maine, where Kossacks commonmass and GreenMountainBoy2 will celebrate their nuptials later this year.

Originally posted to LSophia on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 10:16 AM PST.

Also republished by Anglican Kossacks, Good News, and Kossacks for Marriage Equality.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Nice (7+ / 0-)

    We used to live right by the National Cathedral. Fun fact: it has a moon rock in one of its stained glass windows.

    Yay for their decision!

  •  Progress (7+ / 0-)

    This is the most encouraging thing to happen in public and political life in I don't know how long.

    One of my very best friends is going to be really married in a few months, after being in an "everything but marriage" civil partnership since Washington State passed that back in 2009. This is so much better.

    "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett

    by Joan McCarter on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 10:31:55 AM PST

  •  I'm fairly sure the cathedral in Des Moines has (5+ / 0-)

    had same-sex services, since Iowa has had marriage equality for three and a half years and our bishop is very supportive. I'll need to poke around a little before I claim that as a fact, though.

    And yes, it's very good news! A deeply moving space, open to contemplation and community.

    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 10:39:43 AM PST

  •  As far as Portland, ME, goes (6+ / 0-)

    Two of our own, commonmass and GreenMountainBoy2, will be getting married in the city's Episcopal Cathedral later this spring.

  •  Not only is this bishop a woman, the (7+ / 0-)

    Presiding Bishop of the ECUSA is Katherine Jefferts Schori, another woman. The Piskies have been endowing (ordaining?) women as bishops for a couple of decades now. I remember as a teenager reading in my encyclopedia's 1989 yearbook about Barbara Harris, the first woman bishop ordained in the ECUSA.

    The last time the Republicans were this radical, they were working to elect former slaves to Congress. What a difference a century and a half makes!

    by jayjaybear on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 11:04:06 AM PST

    •  I think it's either "ordaining" or "consecrating" (6+ / 0-)

      not that it really matters.

      Bishop Jefferts Schori turned up unexpectedly at an 8 AM church service I was attending maybe a year of so after she was made Presiding Bishop, wearing ordinary Sunday clothes (no collar, no clerical shirt, no cross - let along all of the other finery they usually wear).

      I remember glancing over at her, thinking, "Wow, that woman has an amazing spiritual presence - and she looks a lot like the Presiding Bishop!"  It wasn't until we were both at the communion rail when I noticed she was wearing an amethyst ring the size of a tea tray, and thought, "OMG, she is the Presiding Bishop!"

      After the service, when I introduced myself, she just smiled, shook hands, and said, "I'm Katharine."  How cool is that?  I ended up walking her over to the parish hall, where she was mobbed.  I was very impressed.

    •  Just a slight self-correction... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LSophia, FindingMyVoice, Wee Mama

      After having my memories percolate a bit, I think Barbara Harris was the first woman ordained bishop in the entire Anglican Union, not just the ECUSA.

      The last time the Republicans were this radical, they were working to elect former slaves to Congress. What a difference a century and a half makes!

      by jayjaybear on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 11:30:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is great news, but I really cannot stand (0+ / 0-)

    that someplace is called, if only colloquially, "The National Cathedral"> We neither need nor want any such reminder of the undue influence that the various xtian churches and their followers have on national affairs.

    Do we have a "National Ashram"?

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 11:27:27 AM PST

    •  It is open to all faiths - I don't have a full (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LSophia, enhydra lutris

      list but I know rabbis and imams have spoken there and there have been many interfaith services. It takes its motto, "My house shall be a house of prayer for all nations," pretty seriously.

      Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

      by Wee Mama on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 01:06:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  May I humbly recommend (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radarlady, enhydra lutris, Wee Mama

      ...that you learn something about the cathedral BEFORE you condemn it?

      Have you ever been there?

      Seen the stained glass Space Window with the Moon rock donated by NASA?

      Did you know that President Woodrow Wilson is buried there?

      That temples/churches of many faiths have donated stones/bricks from their buildings that are included in the structure of the cathedral?

      That the cathedral is available for any faith in need of a place to meet? Often they host other congregations who are building a new facility, or have lost one to fire, etc.

      And, by the way, George Washington, our first president, was an Episcopalian.

      •  None of which alters the fact that it is (0+ / 0-)

        called the National Cathedral. Go look up "Cathedral" - it ain't an auto shop or a swim club. Google cathedral and see what comes up. The phrase "National Cathedral" is one that a secular nation does not need.

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 03:32:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is a privately funded building. It is not (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          endorsed by the government in any way. It has the nickname "the National Cathedral" because it's in DC and serves a national (indeed, an international) community. There are also buildings with the nicknames of the National Synagogue, the National Mosque and the National Temple; there is also a National Masonic Temple and a National Inventors Hall of Fame, a National Governors Association, a National Center for Public Policy Research, a National Center for Transgender Equality, a National Women's Law Center, and the National Football League.

          Each and every one of these groups are private citizens using private funds for their own purposes and trying to serve a national audience. I don't see why the National Cathedral has less right to use the adjective "National."

          I will go further and say that I think the National Football League has done a good deal more harm than the Episcopal Church. Before you blow that off, think about the association between sports and violence against women. At least there's never been an Episcopal bishop who got away with murder and went back to work as if nothing happened.

          Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

          by Wee Mama on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 04:33:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  They have a legal right, it is simply odious to (0+ / 0-)

            me that they exercise it. Words have meaning and they have the gall to assert 1) there is a "National Cathedral" and 2) their facility is it.

            Someplace calling itself "The National Forum for Mocking Fat People" would suck no less were it an equal access meeting hall or an Art Museum.

            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

            by enhydra lutris on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 04:42:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  There are so far as I can tell three cathedrals in (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Washington, D.C.: the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul (aka the National Cathedral), the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle (Roman Catholic), and St. Nicholas Cathedral (Orthodox Church in America). Of these three, the other two are only avaiable to those who are either Roman Catholic or Orthodox. "The National Cathedral" is not only open to all Christians, it is open to absolutely anyone who wants to come in and pray or meditate. Which of these three can make a case that it is functionally a national cathedral?

              Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

              by Wee Mama on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 05:19:15 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  None. Nor, really, could there be a (0+ / 0-)

                National Monument or Temple to the Klan, or the Confederacy, or Slavery.

                When I was young, defense of the display of the Confederate Battle Flag was pretty common. Now, 50 some odd years later, most people in my area react negatively, whether the display is public or private.

                Not so the endless displays of religious symbols and icons, they are somehow completely benign because, well, 'cause god, that's why. Besides, everybody needs a good dose of god every now and then, whether they like it or not, because, god, that's why.

                It fits right in with all of our national days of prayer, prayer breakfasts,, etc.

                That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                by enhydra lutris on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 06:30:29 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  So what it comes down to is that you are offended (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  enhydra lutris

                  that it is a cathedral, not that it is national. I can't change your mind about that.

                  I've already shown that it is, in fact, a cathedral. I've already shown that many, many private organizations that serve a national audience use "National" in their names. I've shown that "National Cathedral" is the choice of nickname of people spontaneously. But if cathedrals per se are offensive to you, I doubt I can change your mind.

                  Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

                  by Wee Mama on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 08:36:20 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Your point is made (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Wee Mama, enhydra lutris

                  May we please return to the point of this diary, which is celebrating the fact that lesbian and gay individuals can have their marriage solemnized in this church?  Thank you.

            •  Just a little more on the scope of the cathedral (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              (which by the way is nicknamed "the National Cathedral" by the public - that is not the name the Episcopalians gave it):

              Major services

              Funerals for three American Presidents have been held at the cathedral:[6]Dwight Eisenhower (1969): Eisenhower lay in repose at the cathedral before lying in state
              Ronald Reagan (2004)[7]
              Gerald Ford (2007)

              Memorial services were also held for presidents Warren G. Harding, William Taft, Calvin Coolidge, Harry S Truman, and Richard M. Nixon.[6]
              Presidential prayer services were held the day after the inaugurations of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1937, Ronald Reagan in 1985, George H.W. Bush in 1989, George W. Bush in 2001 and 2005, and Barack Obama in 2009.[8]

              Other events include:
              Funeral for former first lady Edith Bolling Galt Wilson (1961)[6]
              Memorial service for former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt (1962)[6]
              Memorial service for the casualties of the Vietnam War on November 14, 1982
              Public funeral for Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jeremy Michael Boorda (1996)
              Funeral for Secretary of Commerce Ronald Brown (1996)
              Funeral for U.S. Ambassador to France Pamela Harriman (1997)
              Funeral for Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham (2001)
              Memorial service for the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks
              Special evensong for the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre
              Funeral for educator and civil rights leader Dorothy Height (2010)
              Memorial service for NASA astronaut and first man on the Moon Neil Armstrong (2012)
              Funeral for U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawai'i, President Pro Tem of the Senate, and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient (2012).
              It was from Washington National Cathedral's Canterbury Pulpit that the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the final Sunday sermon of his life, just a few days before his assassination.[9] A memorial service for King was held at the cathedral later the same week.

              And a bit more -

              Several notable American citizens are buried in Washington National Cathedral and its columbarium:

              Larz Anderson, businessman, diplomat

              Joseph Edward Davies (ashes), diplomat, presidential adviser. He gave a stained-glass window in the Cathedral in honor of his mother, Rachel Davies (Rahel o Fôn)
              George Dewey, United States Navy admiral

              Philip Frohman (ashes), cathedral architect, following the death of Bodley

              Cordell Hull, United States Secretary of State
              Helen Keller (ashes), author, lecturer, advocate for the blind and deaf
              A.S. Mike Monroney (ashes), U.S. representative, senator
              Norman Prince, fighter pilot, member of the Lafayette Escadrille flying corps

              John Wesley Snyder (US Cabinet Secretary), Secretary of the Treasury in the Truman administration
              Leo Sowerby (ashes), composer, church musician
              Anne Sullivan (ashes), tutor and companion to Helen Keller, first woman interred here
              Stuart Symington, U.S. senator, presidential candidate
              Henry Vaughan, architect, associate of Bodley

              Edith Wilson, second wife of Woodrow Wilson and First Lady of the United States
              Woodrow Wilson, 28th U.S. president. Wilson's tomb includes variants on the Seal of the President of the United States and the coat of arms of Princeton University. Wilson is the only American president buried in the District of Columbia. His grandson, Francis Bowes Sayre, Jr., later became dean of the Cathedral and was also buried here.

              Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

              by Wee Mama on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 05:42:17 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Your beef might be valid if... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LSophia, Wee Mama

          ...the Cathedral called itself "the United States of America Cathedral" -- but it doesn't. The only entity that has a trademark on the word "national" is a car rental company.

          I'm pagan, and a former member of the SCA, and stained glass windows were my specialty when I was studying for a degree in Medieval and Renaissance Studies. So I've been an admirer of the edifices for many a long year.

          And on September 11, 2001, I would have given my right arm to have been in DC so I could have gone and prayed in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd.

          Make of that what you will.

  •  It's not just cathedrals... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LSophia, Wee Mama

    The Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio (southern half of the state, including Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus) also allows blessing of same-sex unions, even though Ohio has not yet approved gay marriage.  There are limitations, of course.  There's an opt-out procedure for individual priests and parishes, at least one member of any couple seeking the blessing must be a member of the local parish (no "tourist" blessings) and the bishop needs to be informed.  Once a bishop approves, you'll find that same-sex blessings and/or marriages (where legal) will take place not only at the cathedral, but at many of the more liberal parishes as well.

    FWIW, my parish (one of the more liberal in the diocese) held a blessing of a same-sex union five years ago, BEFORE the diocese allowed it, and both our rector and an elderly, retired rector participated.  The older retired rector cried after the service, because he never expected to live long enough to see same-sex unions blessed.  he and his wife both died this winter, but got to see same-sex blessings held throughout the diocese.  Our rector DID get into a bit of hot water, for "jumping the gun", but he's used to being in trouble with the diocese.

    I don't know whether the Diocese of Ohio (northern half of the state) allows same-sex blessings as well, but the bishop there is comfortable appointing partnered gay priests to the smaller churches where he does the appointing.  These are often in small towns, but the local parishes are often so grateful to have a priest that they don't worry about the gender of the priest's partner.

    The Scout Law (trustworthy, loyal, helpful...) is a GREAT liberal manifesto.

    by DaytonMike on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 11:36:09 AM PST

    •  Oh, no, not at all (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wee Mama

      Not just Cathedrals. Blessings of same-sex unions have been occurring frequently, as you say.

      To me, this is a big deal, because they are actually performing marriages, in the arguably most important church in our branch of the church.

      I shudder to think what some of the African churches are going to say about this - they'll probably try to kick us out again.  Oh, well.  That problem, is, fortunately, well above my pay grade.

  •  What about The National Mosque? (0+ / 0-)

    ...or the National Hindu Temple?

    BTW; I don't see them on Google Maps.

    •  Well, there are buildings called the National (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Temple or the National Synagogue as nicknames. "The National Cathedral" is not the formal name for this building, which is formally called the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.

      Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

      by Wee Mama on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 04:00:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The National Synagogue (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wee Mama

      or Ohev Sholom is the oldest Orthodox Synagogue in the US.

      The Islamic Center of Washington is also known as "The National Mosque."

      Both of these are located in Washington, DC.  If you look at a map of DC (which I just did), there are tons of religious organizations with "National" in their names:  the National Community Church, the National Command of the Salvation Army, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the National Memorial Baptist Church, the Universalist National Memorial Church (Unitarians), the National Gurdwara (Sikh), the National Wesleyan Church, the National Spiritual Association of the Bahai's and and so on.

  •  Inch by inch, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wee Mama, LSophia

    row by row, gonna make this garden grow!  :-)

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 04:28:07 PM PST

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