AMM’s In-person Ordination Tour in Tennessee: A Look Back – and Forward

Tags: tennessee, amm-in-the-news, freedom-of-religion, in-person-ordination, minister-rights

Published: Thursday, Jun. 25th, 2020


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Photo by Wyatt Massey of the Chattanooga Times Free Press

A Look Back

One year ago at this time, on this very day, we had our feet on the ground in Tennessee. With just a few weeks’ notice, we invited everyone to come from near and far in Tennessee to get ordained with us in person, and to take a stand against the state’s unjust anti-online ordination law.

The law (SB1377/HB0213) sparked widespread outrage with its blatant intent to strip online-ordained ministers of their right to perform marriage, and couples of their right to choose who officiates their wedding ceremony.

To each and every one of you who took the time to show up, get ordained, shake our hands, and share your thoughts and experiences with us: we thank you from the bottoms of our hearts.

Bringing our ministers together in Tennessee was one of the most powerful experiences we've had in our time at American Marriage Ministries, and we reflect on it often. And now, as we wait for the courts to issue a final decision on the matter, our determination to fight for the rights of our ministers is stronger than ever.






Media Coverage: In Case You Missed It

These articles and news segments covering our in-person ordination events across Tennessee are a lasting reminder of who we are as a team and organization, and why we will always stand behind our ministers. They offer a small glimpse into the thoughts and efforts behind our on-the-ground mission in Tennessee.



 The Washington Post: Tennessee banned Internet ministers from performing weddings. So this online church sent four people on a mad dash across the state.

 Chattanooga Times Free Press: In-person ordination training subverts new Tennessee marriage law

 Knox News: In-person ordinations offered in light of new TN law

 WATE 6: Group hosts ‘pop up’ service in Knoxville for online ordained ministers to stay in compliance with new state law

 Tennesseean.: Internet church sues Tennessee over law banning weddings by online-ordained ministers

 Memphis Flyer: Internet Married

 WBIR 10 NEWS: Online marriage group ordains hundreds ahead of Tennessee law change

 News Channel 5: "I thought it was kind of an attack on us." Hundreds get re-ordained because of new TN marriage law"

 WKRN: Online church stops in Nashville to ordain Ministers in person ahead of new state law

 Nashville Public Radio: Tennessee’s New Ban On Internet Ordinations Could Add Hurdles For LGBT Weddings

 Gay Today: Tennessee just snuck through a law to chip away at marriage equality and hardly anyone noticed

 LGBTQ Nation: Tennessee is trying a sneaky way to undermine marriage equality & churches are fighting back

 The Wild Hunt: Tennessee law restricts online ordinations

 And a huge shout out to 107.5 The River’s Woody & Jim Show's Jim Chandler, an AMM Minister who went all out and performed marriage for 19 couples at the Big Fat All-Inclusive Wedding!




Where Things Stand

If you’re wondering whether or not you can still perform marriage in Tennessee as an online-ordained AMM Minister: Yes, you can! 

Because a federal judge put a hold on the new law, you can continue to perform marriage in the state of Tennessee as long as you are ordained online by American Marriage Ministries, or another recognized church.

You may view and/or download Judge Crenshaw’s orders here.


We continue to receive messages on a weekly basis asking if we will be holding any more in-person ordination events.

The short answer: Yes, we will, eventually.

The longer answer: The crowds that showed up to last year’s events were astounding. Under normal circumstances we would already be on the road again, welcoming another thousand Ministers with open arms. But as we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we do not feel it would be safe, ethical, or responsible for our team to travel and encourage large gatherings. Once the health crisis subsides, we most definitely plan to return to Tennessee!



The Road Ahead

No decision has been reached yet by the courts, and truth be told, we anticipate a long wait before this case is fully resolved. 

At present, everything is tied up in the courts, and we are just waiting on our legal team to give us an update. As soon as the 6th Circuit rules on the motion - which it is expected to grant - the District court will issue a briefing schedule. Once that schedule is published, we’ll have a better idea of what’s going to happen next, and we can share an updated timeline with you.

Until then, the best thing you can do is continue to follow us. We encourage you to stay informed, stay connected, and support the AMM community.


Facebook: @americanmarriageministries

Instagram: @americanmarriageministries

Twitter: @ammofficiants


Yours in solidarity,

- Your friends & family at American Marriage Ministries


Become a Wedding Officiant with Our Free Online Ordination!