Folks, this is a big deal.
The National Cathedral in Washington, DC is the seat of the Episcopal Church, one of the world’s largest cathedrals, and the host of the official prayer service for the presidential inauguration later this month. It announced that it will begin hosting same-sex weddings. According to the Washington Post:
In some ways, the announcement that is expected Wednesday morning is unsurprising for a denomination and a diocese that long ago took up the cause of marriage equality. But the cathedral’s stature and the image of same-sex couples exchanging vows in the soaring Gothic structure visited by a half-million tourists each year is symbolically powerful.
Most of the same-sex weddings I have seen have taken place in intimate, quaint settings. But, in the world of politics and culture, imagery and symbolism matter. Nothing says mainstream like gay couples marrying in such a powerful and gorgeous place.
When a person Elton John’s stature gets married, for instance, this Cathedral would be a perfect setting for the media and the dignitaries that would attend. Such a traditional setting confers an air of legitimacy when witnessed by millions of Americans and helps erase centuries of stigma.
Additionally, this decision is a blow to the bigotry of the Roman Catholic Church. Embroiled in child rape scandals, stuck with an uncharismatic and uninspiring Pope, and looking out of touch by increasingly declaring holy war on various social issues, the majestic cathedrals (along with art) are one Rome’s few remaining avenues to inspire awe. By the Episcopal Church allowing gay couples to marry in one of America’s most magnificent venues, the Catholic Church loses its “tradition” advantage on this issue.
For me this is personal. When I lived in Washington I would often walk to the Cathedral and read a book or the Sunday newspaper on it’s manicured grounds. In my wildest dreams I never imagined same-sex weddings performed in this magnificent place in little more than a decade. Truth Wins Out thanks the Episcopal Church for its forward thinking and is downright giddy by this enlightened and bold decision.