CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (WDEF)- Are you an online ordained minister in the state of Tennessee?
If so, then you won’t be one for long.
Starting July first, House Bill 0213 prohibits persons receiving online ordinations from solemnizing the rite of matrimony.
Current online ordained ministers here in Chattanooga are about to take a direct hit to their businesses.
Companies like Magnolia & Lace Weddings are having to ask their clients to get married in Georgia even though they have a religious background.
Dawn Hendrix of Magnolia & Lace Weddings says, “Having that background but still being willing to have an open door policy to say, if you are allowed to get married in the United States, I’m willing to work with you. I think that sets me apart and should be able to be a part of the experience that people can have in Tennessee.”
Online, non-profit American Marriage Ministries has ordained over 13,000 online ministers in Tennessee alone.
This means, those people will have to find an independent church to ordain them or stop performing marriages all together.
Lewis King the Executive Director of AMM says, “You know there are people that have invested an incredible amount of time and resources into this. And with one line, this law completely disenfranchises them.”
King also says, “What we’ve heard back from lawmakers is ‘Sorry it’s the law, tough luck’ or there’s the ones that voted against it we are very sympathetic who are saying ‘Yes,we are obviously going to have to readdress this but we can’t wait six to seven months until the legislation reconvenes to address this because we are talking about the lives and weddings of tens of thousands of Tennessee couples that are impacted by this. What do you tell them?”
American Marriage Ministries plans on doing everything they can to get the law overturned.