National Cathedral Celebrates Ruling on Gay Marriage

Thursday, 27 Jun 2013 09:35 AM

By Greg McDonald

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The National Cathedral joined other Christian churches in the nation's capital Wednesday in ringing bells to celebrate the Supreme Court's decision overturning the federal ban on gay marriage.

Cathedral spokesman Richard Weinberg told television station WUSA the bells were rung for about 45 minutes to an hour, beginning at noon. Bells also could be heard ringing at Methodist, Presbyterian, Unitarian, and other Christian churches across the District of Columbia to mark the ruling.

The cathedral, the seat of the Episcopal Church, also marked the day with an evening prayer service for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families, the Washington Post reported.

Speaking at the service, the Rev. Gary Hall, the cathedral dean, said, “I do believe we have turned a corner in American life. I do believe we have turned a corner in the faith community’s life."

Hall, a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage, also observed, "We are now at a place where we are beginning to see together that the sacrament of marriage is a divine gift, a divine gift offered to everyone regardless of sexual orientation."

According to the Post, the cathedral started performing same-sex marriages in January, not long after Hall became dean.

The cathedral's recognition of the court's ruling through its prayer service brought out many gay and lesbian couples who told the Post they had turned away from religion.

Two of them, Aaron Elliott and Frank Piotrkowski, are engaged to be married. They said many of their friends celebrated the ruling by going out for drinks, but they chose instead to attend the church service.

"I gave up on religion for a long time,” Elliott told the Post. But he said the welcoming congregation at the cathedral makes him feel like he "can be part of a religious community again, not be ostracized because of someone else's ideas."

Earlier in the day, the cathedral issued a statement from Hall noting that the bells of the church, which sits at a high point in the city, overlooking nearly all of Washington, were rung "to celebrate the extension of federal marriage equality to all the same-sex couples modeling God’s love in lifelong covenants.”

Hall said the ruling should be viewed as a call for all Christians to embrace religious marriage equality, according to WUSA..

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