With focus on the Supreme Court’s upcoming release of opinions in two cases, one challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the other challenging California’s Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage, the Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the Washington National Cathedral, said today that a related evening prayer service will be held Wednesday, June 26, at 7 p.m.
Prior to the service, Hall will be joined by various faith leaders who will speak in support of marriage equality at a press conference, to be held at 5 p.m. outside the cathedral’s main entrance on Wisconsin Avenue NW. Those faith leaders expected attend: the Rev. Dennis Wiley, pastor of Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ; Franci DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry; and the Rev. Dwayne Johnson, senior pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, D.C.
Washington National Cathedral
(Photo by JD Uy/File photo)
“The freedom to marry the person you love is not only a Constitutional right. It’s a moral right,” Hall said in a statement. “As a straight man, my church and my government have given me those rights. Those of use from churches and synagogues and mosques are saying: our faith communities are ready to extend those rights to everyone. It’s time for government to do the same.”
Following the legalization of same-sex marriage in Maryland last year, with approval from the Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, the cathedral formally announced its decision to celebrate same-sex marriages, placing it on the liberal side of an ongoing struggle between various factions within the Episcopal Church, largely over social issues.
''Coming together as brothers and sisters, friends and allies, supporters of equal rights can draw strength from one another, be reminded of God's abiding love, and work through complex feelings about an issue of personal importance at the center of this national debate,'' read an earlier statement released by the cathedral announcing initial plans for this event to be held in July. ''As a long period of expectation continues, the Cathedral adds its hopes to yours for victories to come.''
[EDITOR'S NOTE: As originally posted, this story listed two possible dates for a similar event at the Washington National Cathedral, July 1 and 3. Those originally announced plans have been amended in favor of the June 26 event.]