March 26, 2013 8:30 AM
United for Marriage
by the Very Rev. Gary Hall
We gather this morning as people of several identities:
- Gay, straight, bisexual, transgender;
- Mother and father;
- Husband and wife;
- Brother and sister;
- Friend and ally.
We are gathered with common purpose as Americans of diverse backgrounds, faiths, and perspectives:
- Jews, Muslims, Christians;
- Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs.
- People who consider themselves spiritual but not religious.
- And from all those traditions, as people who have suffered persecution by the words and actions of those claiming to speak for God.
We are gathered to say one thing, together: it’s time for marriage equality.
I’m here as a straight Episcopal priest, in ordained ministry for more than 35 years, and married to my wife Kathy for almost as long. And I believe in God’s blessing on all committed, long-term human relationships. I’m here also as the leader of Washington National Cathedral, which strives to serve as a spiritual home for the nation. I arrived just last October. And this past January, I announced that our National Cathedral will begin performing same-sex marriages. It’s right, and it’s time.
As one of the nation's most iconic faith communities, Washington National Cathedral strives to be a house of prayer where all are welcome. As we live into that expansive, inclusive identity, we at the Cathedral want to be as clear as we can be that all means all. Every person is loved by God. We can preach that from the pulpit, but the most emphatic we can say it is to live it by uniting same sex couples in marriage at the altar in our Cathedral.
Many of you have likely felt ostracized or unloved by your previous faith community, and you know all too well how biblical teaching and religion have been used to bolster the other side of this fight. There are many who say that any orientation but heterosexuality is a sin. And they pick and choose verses from the Bible to support their claims.
But I’m here to tell you that there are communities of faith—including your nation’s Cathedral—where we don’t believe that to be true. We read our Bibles, too, and we find a different story than the one our adversaries do. In our Bibles, we see God making and blessing people in the divine image. In our Bibles, we see Jesus eating and walking with people from every walk of human life. The faith leaders who stand with you today say: the time for marriage equality has come.
I believe that God has given all of us the gift of our sexual orientation. I also believe that God has given us the gift of marriage as the best way for faithful people to live their sexuality out. As a straight man, my church and my government have given me the right to live into those gifts. Those of us from churches and synagogues and temples and mosques gathered today are saying: our faith communities are ready to extend those rights to everyone. It's time for the government to do the same.
The freedom to marry the person you love is a not only a Constitutional right: it’s a moral right. And it’s time for marriage equality.