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Nicole Murray-Ramirez attends Matthew Shepard's interment at Washington National Cathedral

Nicole Murray-Ramirez sat among dignitaries and other public figures as Matthew Shpeard's ashes were interred at the  Gothic National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
Photo credit:
Michael Lochner

This past Friday, Matthew Shepard's remains were interred at the crypt of Washington National Cathedral, City Commissioner Nicole Murray-Ramirez was in attendance representing the City of San Diego. 

Shepard was brutally beaten and tortured and left for dead, tied to a fence in Laramie Wyoming 20 years ago this month, he passed away six days later, on Oct. 12, he was 21-years-old. 

At the interment ceremony, Episcopalian Bishop V. Gene Robinson faced the ashes of Matthew Shepard and gave an emotional statement.

"I have three things I want to say to Matt," Bishop Robinson said tearfully, "Gently Rest in this place. You are safe now. And Matt, welcome home."

Up until that point, Matthew's parents, Dennis and Judy Shepard kept their son's ashes safely in their home. They had worried that laying Matthew to rest in Wyoming would lead to desecration and hate crimes. 

The Episcopal Church stepped in and offered to have their son's remains laid to rest at the Gothic National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. where he would join presidents and other iconic Americans. The last time a national figure ashes were interred at the cathedral were those of Helen Keller 50 years prior.

Matthew's ceremony was attended by over 2,000 people who watched the emotional, religious and grand service as it was presided over by three Bishops, including the Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde. 

But it was Bishop Robinson's remarks that received the longest standing ovation with a call to arms of renewed activism by all within the LGBT community and to vote on Nov. 6. Robinson stated that attendees were not only there for Matthew but also his parents who in their own way have become civil rights icons and are deeply loved and respected by the community.

Prominent Americans both LGBT and their allies attended the ceremony. guests included former U.S. Senator Gordon Smith, TV Anchor Katie Coric, Ambassador James Brewster, HRC founder Terry Bean to Stuart Milk and Elizabeth Birch.

The Shepards invited San Diego City Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez to sit in the special Cathedral seating for family and friends. Murray-Ramirez is also Chair of the National GLBT Network U.S.A. and  Queen Mother of the Imperial Courts of the U.S.A., Canada and Mexico. Afterward, he attended the private reception at the National Chamber of Commerce.

"It may have not been raining outside this historic Cathedral but our tears were flowing inside in one of the most beautiful, emotional and stirring celebrations of life I have ever attended," Murray-Ramirez told San Diego Gay and Lesbian News. "In my conversations with Judy Shepard and Bishop Robinson after the ceremony, I told them that this historic event truly renewed all of our commitment to our continuing struggle for full LGBT equality."