No More Online Ordained Ministers In Tennessee

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CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (WDEF)- Are you an online ordained minister in the state of Tennessee?

If so, then you won’t be one for long.

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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.

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Danielle Moss joined the WDEF 12 News team in April 2019 as a reporter, producer and fill-in Meteorologist. She began her journey at WDEF as a weather intern. You can find Danielle on the evening anchor desk every weekend. She also reports during the week and does weather as well. Danielle grew up in Atlanta, GA and graduated from Jacksonville State University with a Mass Communications degree. She is currently enrolled in Mississippi State's Broadcast and Operational Meteorology degree program and is expected to graduate in May of 2020. Prior to WDEF, Danielle worked as a sideline reporter on Friday Night Network. She is an avid traveler and is excited to start exploring Chattanooga. To connect with Danielle on social media you can find her on Twitter: @SunnyD_wx and you can like her Facebook page: Danielle Moss WDEF.