Washington National Cathedral to host special prayer service for LGBT families

After the Supreme Court's rulings against the so-called "Defense of Marriage" Act (DOMA) and California's Proposition 8, Washington National Cathedral pealed the bells in its central tower, the District of Columbia's highest point, to celebrate marriage equality. 

The Cathedral's dean, Gary Hall, spoke out in March for LGBT equality at the Supreme Court and hailed today's decisions. "Today’s rulings announce a new era for our country," he said today in a statement, "One in which married lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans can finally enjoy the same federal recognition and protection that our laws have for so long extended to their fellow citizens." 

To help provide perspective on this momentous day and its implications, all LGBT families and allies are invited to attend a special service of reflection and hope at Washington National Cathedral tonight, June 26, at 7 pm. Learn more»

The service will also be webcast live from the Cathedral's website.

A diverse group of faith leaders will speak out in support of marriage equality at a press conference preceding the prayer service at 5 p.m

Dean Hall will be joined by:

  • The Rev. Dr. Dennis Wiley, pastor of Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ;
  • Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry;
  • The Rev. Dwayne Johnson, senior pastor of Metropolitan Community Church DC; and

While celebrating the win for the LGBT community today, the Cathedral has resolved to continue its advocacy—in partnership with communities of faith and other advocates—until all God’s children enjoy equal citizenship.

“The freedom to marry the person you love is not only a Constitutional right. It’s a moral right. As a straight man, my church and my government have given me those rights,” said Dean Hall. “Those of us from churches and synagogues and temples and mosques are saying: our faith communities are ready to extend those rights to everyone. It’s time for the government to do the same.”

Dean Hall announced in January that the Cathedral would welcome the celebration of marriages for same-sex couples. The Cathedral community is part of the Respect for Marriage Coalition that put out an advertisement in support of LGBT families and held a rally in support of marriage equality as the justices heard oral arguments on the cases this past March.

Media Availability: The press conference with faith leaders will begin at 5 p.m. on the grounds outside of the Cathedral's main entrance (Wisconsin Ave. side). The special service is open to media, and Dean Hall is available for interviews throughout the week to offer a faith-based view on marriage. Please RSVP to Meredith MacKenzie, meredith@rabinowitz-dorf.com or (202) 427-2007 in advance to attend the press conference and cover the service.

What: Press conference and special prayer service for LGBT community
Where: Washington National Cathedral
When: Wednesday, June 26
5 p.m. press conference
7 p.m. prayer service