Washington National Cathedral to Celebrate Same-Sex Weddings with Blessing Rite

(Photo Credit: Washington National Cathedral)The Rev. Gary R. Hall is seen on the central tower roof of the Washington National Cathedral in an undated file photo.

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

In July, the Episcopal Church, which is affiliated with the Cathedral, authorized a rite of blessing for same-sex couples committed to lifelong relationships on a three year provisional basis.

"I have shared this decision with the Chapter and staff prior to this announcement, and I am proud that Washington National Cathedral will be among the first Episcopal institutions to adopt and implement a rite that will enable our faithful LGBT members to share in the sacramental blessings of Christian marriage," the Rev. Hall said.

The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde decided in December last year to allow the expansion of the sacrament in light of the decision by the local governments of Washington D.C. and Maryland to legalize same-sex marriage.

The Cathedral said Rev. Hall ultimately led the Cathedral's decision and adaptation of the same-sex rite.

"It is my hope and prayer that, if all of us open ourselves to the fullness and diversity of our nation's many voices, we will learn to walk together in a new way as we listen for God's call to us to be faithful to each other and to God," he said.

The Cathedral said the weddings are conducted as Christian marriages in which the couple commits to "lifelong faithfulness, love, forbearance, and mutual comfort. At least one person must have been baptized and generally only couples directly affiliated with the life of the Cathedral are eligible.

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