Philadelphia Weekly Q&A With the Very Rev. Gary Hall, Dean of the National Cathedral

You recently decided to take the issue of gay marriage on, head-on, at the National Cathedral. What led you to that decision?

There’s my own track record on the issue and then there’s the cathedral’s process. I’ve been a proponent of same-sex marriage at least 20 years. I worked in the ’90s on this stuff at All-Saints Church in Pasadena, California, a progressive church in that part of Los Angeles. Los Angeles has a very large gay and lesbian population, it had an AIDS service center. I got to know a lot of gay and lesbian people well, personally, which I hadn’t before. And during my time there, that parish decided to do same-sex blessings. We aren’t talking about marriage yet. So, I’ve been involved in same-sex blessing and a couple of same sex marriages, really, over the last 20 years. But I had a book of essays about it.

On the public side, it’s that in 2012, thanks to all this activity that I and others did, the Episcopal Church authorized a liturgy, a ritual for same-sex blessings. And in the areas where marriage was legal, nine states plus the District, it could be locally adapted for marriage. The cathedral is an Episcopal cathedral, it’s part of the Episcopal diocese of Washington. So same-sex marriage has been legal in Washington for a while. Maryland just passed a referendum in November saying same-sex marriage is legal now. So all parts of our diocese were where same-sex marriage was legal.

The bishop and I met and said we’re going to start allowing same-sex marriage everywhere, in that diocese in January, and the cathedral would also do it. It was part of a long process in the Episcopal Church. We’ve had controversies over openly gay bishops and all that kind of stuff. We worked through those. Our denomination has come to a place that’s made it possible. And at our general convention in 2015, we’ll probably take up the marriage question.

Read it all (my emphasis).

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture