Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Universal Life Church Sues Over Tennessee Ban On Solemnization of Marriages By Those Ordained Online

In a press release, Universal Life Church Ministries announced that it filed suit in a Tennessee federal district court on June 21 challenging the constitutionality of an amendment to the Tennessee Code scheduled to go into effect on July 1. The new law (full text) prohibits individuals who have received online ordinations from solemnizing marriages in the state. The Universal Life Church Ministries  has ordained more than 20 million individuals worldwide during the past 40 years through its online ordination. The lawsuit, brought on behalf of three ministers in Tennessee, alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments and Art. I Sec. 3 of the Tennessee Constitution.  In its press release, ULMC says in part:
In the year 1454, Johannes Gutenberg – after years of painstaking work and near financial ruin – changed the world forever when he utilized his brilliant new printing press to successfully print the Bible. This Earth-shattering technological innovation arguably marked one of the first steps in a long chain of events that would bring about the Protestant movement, and for the first time in centuries return the power of religion to common women and men. People were finally free to pray, read, learn, commune, and question in a manner of their choosing – and the world is better off for it.
Much like Johannes Gutenberg, the Universal Life Church Ministries argues that it has always embraced the remarkable power of technology to bring people together in a global spiritual community and to push the conversation forward in pursuit of ever-higher levels of enlightenment.