The interior of the Washington National Cathedral, where same-sex couples now can marry.
The church will be among the first Episcopal congregations to implement a new rite of marriage for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members, according to the AP.
The AP spoke with the dean, the Very Rev. Gary Hall:
[Hall] said performing same-sex marriages is an opportunity to break down barriers and build a more inclusive community “that reflects the diversity of God’s world.
“I read the Bible as seriously as fundamentalists do. And my reading of the Bible leads me to want to do this because I think it’s being faithful to the kind of community that Jesus would have us be.
“As a kind of tall-steeple, public church in the nation’s capital, by saying we’re going to bless same-sex marriages, conduct same-sex marriages, we are really trying to take the next step for marriage equality in the nation and in the culture.
“For us to be able to say we embrace same-sex marriage as a tool for faithful people to live their lives as Christian people, for us to be able to say that at a moment when so many other barriers toward full equality and full inclusion for gay and lesbian people are falling, I think it is an important symbolic moment.”
The cathedral has hosted many national religious gatherings, including a recent service following the death of Sen. Daniel Inouye. The cathedral claims its place in history as the location of Martin Luther King Jr.’s final Sunday sermon in 1968 and President George W. Bush’s speech at the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance service on September 14, 2001.