Now that Washington DC and Maryland have both legalized marriage for all loving couples, the National Cathedral, which is affiliated with the Episcopal Church, will perform weddings for gay and lesbian couples. The marriage rite for LGBT members was adopted by the Episcopal Church in 2012, though individual congregations can choose whether or not to implement it.
The National Cathedral is one of the most recognizable places of worship in the United States, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors per year. It has also hosted many presidential inauguration services as well as the funerals for several presidents, including Ronald Regan and Gerald Ford.
The cathedral's dean, the Very Rev. Gary Hall, said:
I read the Bible as seriously as fundamentalists do. 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. As a kind of tall-steeple, public church in the nation's capital, by saying we're going to bless same-sex marriages, conduct same-sex marriages, we are really trying to take the next step for marriage equality in the nation and in the culture.
The Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, whose Diocese of Washington includes the District of Columbia as well as four counties in Maryland, decided in December that the National Cathedral would perform marriages for all couples, but waited until today to make the announcement. Due to the cathedral’s popularity and busy schedule, it will likely be at least six months until the first gay or lesbian couple marries there.