The Washington National Cathedral, a hub for the Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., announced today that it will begin performing same-sex marriages immediately.
"Washington National Cathedral has a long history of advancing equality for people of all faiths and perspectives," said the church's dean, Reverend Gary Hall, in a statement. "The cathedral is called to serve as a gathering place for the nation in times of significance, but it is also rooted in its role as the most visible faith community within the Episcopal Church. For more than 30 years, the Episcopal Church has prayed and studied to discern the evidence of God's blessing in the lives of same-sex couples. It is now only fitting that the National Cathedral follow suit. We enthusiastically affirm each person as a beloved child of God — and doing so means including the full participation of gays and lesbian in the life of this spiritual home for the nation."
The Episcopal Church is a progressive Protestant denomination that has ordained gay and lesbian clergy since 1989, according to the Human Rights Campaign, and in 2003 the church made history by ordaining its first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson. In July 2012 the church provisionally approved union rites for same-sex couples and a nondiscrimination policy that covers transgender people.