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Jan 9, 2013 12:53 AM by Associated Press

National Cathedral to perform same-sex weddings

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Washington National Cathedral, where the nation gathers to mourn tragedies and celebrate new presidents, will soon begin performing same-sex marriages.

Cathedral officials tell The Associated Press that the church will be among the first Episcopal congregations to implement a new rite of marriage. The church will announce its new policy Wednesday.

As the nation's most prominent church, the decision carries huge symbolism. The 106-year-old cathedral has long been a spiritual center for the nation, hosting funerals for Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford. It draws hundreds of thousands of visitors.

The Very Rev. Gary Hall, the cathedral's dean, says the church is taking "the next step for marriage equality." He says including gays and lesbians is "being faithful to the kind of community that Jesus would have us be."

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