Congress gave it the designation of the National House of Prayer.
The funerals of three presidents have been held there: Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, and Gerald Ford.
Memorial services for many other presidents and their spouses have also been held in the National House of Prayer, including Eleanor Roosevelt.
The very first national memorial service for the casualties of the Vietnam War was held within the walls of the National Cathedral on Nov. 14, 1982.
And now, in yet another national milestone, Gay and Lesbian couples are being extended the right hand of fellowship by the leadership of the National Cathedral: Come, marry, let’s celebrate.
This comes following the adoption of formal rites for blessing the union of same-sex couples by the national Episcopal Church, and the recent voter-approval of same-sex unions in four Maryland counties.
The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Washington aren’t newbies at this. They’ve been keen to gay rights for some time now. (Can it be that we really are in 2013 and still arguing the gay issue? Proving once more, the Church body can drag out the bickering on most any subject matter.)
“It is my hope and prayer that, if all of us open ourselves to the fullness and diversity of our nation’s many voices, we will learn to walk together in a new way as we listen for God’s call to us to be faithful to each other and to God,” said the cathedral’s new dean, the Very Rev. Gary Hall.
It isn’t quite the open-ended invitation it would seem, however. There are caveats. Gay or Straight, there are always caveats.
“As a general rule, only couples directly affiliated with the life of the Cathedral—as active, contributing members of the congregation; as alumni or alumnae of the Cathedral schools; as individuals who have made significant volunteer or donor contributions over a period of time; or those judged by the dean to have played an exceptional role in the life of the nation—are eligible to be married at the Cathedral.”
Dang. It looks like those gay and lesbian couples from Westboro Baptist will need to find another church to do their marrying for them.
What do you think? Have you ever attended a church wedding for a gay or lesbian couple? Would you belong to a church that conducted the marriages of gay and lesbian couples if that were legal in your state?