Boston Marriage: Top Episcopalian Clerics Wed in Same-Sex Ceremony
Two highly placed Episcopalian clerics married in Boston in a same-sex wedding celebrated at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul.
The wedding took place on New Year’s Day, and joined the Very Reverend Katherine Hancock Ragsdale and Mally Lloyd in holy matrimony, according to a Jan. 2 press release. Ragsdale is the dean and president of Episcopal Divinity School. Lloyd is the Canon to the Ordinary.
The ceremony marked the first same-sex wedding to take place at the cathedral in the nearly seven years since marriage equality was granted in Massachusetts, the first state in the union to extend legal parity to gay and lesbian families.
The wedding was also the first to be officiated over by the Right Reverend M. Thomas Shaw, who serves as the Bishop Diocesan of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. It was only a little more than a year ago, in November, 2009, that Shaw decided to allow clerics in the Diocese of Massachusetts to officiate at all weddings, regardless of the genders of the celebrants, noted the release.
"God always rejoices when two people who love each other make a life long commitment in marriage to go deeper into the heart of God through each other," said Bishop Shaw at the ceremony, which was attended by about 400 people. "It’s a profound pleasure for me to celebrate with God and my friends, the marriage of Katherine and Mally."
"The couple met on June 30, 2008, at the urging of a mutual friend," recounted the release. "At the time, Canon Lloyd, 57, said, ’We were both travelling a lot and so we would talk by phone. And somehow when you talk a lot by phone, a relationship can go deeper more quickly than when you spend time in person. At least that is what happened to us.’ "
The release noted that the marriage is the first for Dean Ragsdale, and the second for Canon Lloyd. "It’s astonishing how the world is changing," Ragsdale said, going on to note, "when I grew up, I never believed I would be able to have someone special in my life and now to have almost 400 people show up to support us at our marriage ceremony is wonderful."
"We have a lot in common," said Canon Lloyd, adding, "we each have a spiritual life that the other understands and respects and we also understand the amount of travelling and often late hours that our work requires. Somehow too when you are in your fifties, certain things just aren’t as big a problem as they seemed in your twenties."
"Though the Episcopal Church’s canons and formularly still state that marriage is between a man and a woman, the church at its General Convention in July of 2009 decided to allow that ’bishops, particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this church,’ " noted the release.
"Ragsdale, 52, became dean of the historic Episcopal Divinity School in October 2009," the release said. She is the first woman to hold that position. The school is among the most progressive seminaries in the world."