US Episcopalians celebrate defeat of Defense of Marriage Act

The bells at the National Cathedral of the Episcopal Church of the United States, located in Washington DC, pealed for an hour at noon on June 26 following the decision of the Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act. Bells tolled at other places of Christian worship, including those of other Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Unitarian and other Christian churches.
 
The National Cathedral, which has seen numerous solemn occasions in American history, has also scheduled a prayer service for male and female homosexuals, bisexuals, transgenders and their families for the evening of June 26.
 
The dean of the cathedral, Rev. Gary Hall said in a statement that the Supreme Court's decision rang his bells. He said that his church is glad “to celebrate the extension of federal marriage equality to all the same-sex couples modeling God’s love in lifelong covenants.” He added that the ruling should make Christian embrace same-sex marriage. 
 
The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church of the US, Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori released a statement about the court's decision, saying "The Episcopal Church is presently engaged in a period of study and dialogue about the nature of Christian marriage.  This work is moving forward, with faithful people of many different perspectives seeking together to discern the movement of the Holy Spirit.  However, our Church has taken the position that neither federal nor state governments should create constitutional prohibitions that deny full civil rights and protections to gay and lesbian persons, including those available to different-sex couples through the civic institution of marriage."
 
Accordingly, I welcome today’s decision of the United States Supreme Court that strikes down the 17-year-old law prohibiting federal recognition of same-sex civil marriages granted by the states.  The unmistakable movement toward civil marriage equality in the states over the past decade reflects the will of the people in those states to grant equal rights and dignity under the law to all married couples and families, and today’s decision will appropriately allow those families to be recognized under federal law as well.  At the same time, the Court’s withholding of judgment on the ultimate constitutional question of whether a state may ban same-sex marriage reflects the fact that this conversation will continue to evolve in coming years." 


Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

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