Beginning today, Jan. 9, gay couples will be able to take their vows in the iconic National Cathedral in Washington according to a statement issued by the Very Rev. Gary Hall of the Cathedral. The move is consistent with the canon of the Episcopal Church, which approved a same-sex marriage rite last year at its annual convention.
“In my 35 years of ordained ministry, some of the most personally inspiring work I have witnessed has been among gay and lesbian communities where I have served. I consider it a great honor to lead this Cathedral as it takes another historic step toward greater equality—and I am pleased that this step follows the results made clear in this past November’s election, when three states voted to allow same-sex marriage.” — Rev. Gary Hall
The Cathedral, whose stated mission is to “be a catalyst for spiritual harmony in our nation,” was chartered in 1893 with construction beginning in 1907. The Cathedral was completed in 1990 with the completion of the west towers. It is the sixth- largest Cathedral in the world with total area of over 83,000 square feet and its tallest tower reaching over 300 feet.
It has been the site Presidential Inaugural services and funeral services for Presidents Eisenhower, Reagan and Ford, as well as memorial services and funerals for other nationally prominent citizens. More than 220 people are interred in the Cathedral, including Woodrow Wilson and Helen Keller.
Weddings at the Cathedral are conducted as Christian marriages, which require that at least one person in the couple has been baptized. As a general rule, according to the press statement, only couples directly affiliated with the life of the Cathedral are eligible to be married there.