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Right-wing group petitions against National Cathedral over gay weddings

A Christian right group led by Ralph Reed is circulating a petition to deny any federal funding to the Washington National Cathedral because the church allows same-sex weddings.

Earlier this year, the cathedral announced that, consistent with the canons of the Episcopal Church, it would begin celebrating same-sex marriage ceremonies using a rite adapted from an existing blessing ceremony approved in August 2012 by the church at its general convention.

The petition from the Faith and Freedom Coalition states, “Pro-family and Pro-freedom Americans will not sit idly by as the government attempts to change the Biblical definition of marriage.”

The petition says marriage is the union of a man and a woman and that the signers are “outraged that the Federal Government would provide funding to the Washington National Cathedral, which has publicly announced its intention to perform homosexual marriage ceremonies.”

Reed’s group is demanding “an immediate suspension of any current or future federal funds to this institution, until such time that it ceases the practice of homosexual ‘marriage’ certification.”

Reed, a conservative political activist, is probably best known as the leader of Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition in the 1990s. Reed ran for lieutenant governor in Georgia in 2006, but lost the primary amid scandal over his ties to corrupt casino lobbyist Jack Abramoff. In 2009, Reed launched the Faith and Freedom Coalition.

The cathedral's announcement that it would host same-sex weddings – civil marriage is legal for gay couples in D.C. and Maryland – was national news because the church has been the site of many events of national significance.

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