Protecting Minister Rights in Tennessee

Tennessee's Public Chapter 415 remains on hold pending resolution of a legal challenge. As of publication, all online-ordained ministers may still solemnize marriage in the state of Tennessee. Join AMM in our efforts to protect our constitutionally guaranteed religious rights.


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Updated September 2020:

At present, all online ordained ministers are still authorized to solemnize marriages. The new law, which is being challenged in court, is currently not in effect by order of U.S. District Judge Crenshaw.

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

The Order further states that the new law will not go into effect if not struck down until conclusion of the trial which has yet to be scheduled. While there have been some who raise the issue of a marriage being later invalidated due to the fact that an online ordained minister solemnized the ceremony, there is no legal basis for that to occur in light of the new law not being in effect.

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Join us in our efforts to roll back this unjust law. Below are some steps you can take to make your voice heard, and help Tennessee's legislature understand the impact of the new marriage law.

We are now offering a special Tennessee Minister Ordination Package for our ministers who still would like the credentials and materials to officiate a wedding. This package also includes a letter to Governor Bill Lee for you to sign in the hopes of reversing this unfortunate law.

  1. Contact your local county clerk and ask them how you are to proceed with weddings that are already planned. Be sure to ask them what steps you can take to ensure that your ordination is recognized, or if not, what you should do.
  2. Contact your local representative and voice your opposition to this new law. The law seems to have been passed with little publicity or debate, and we suspect that most representatives were unaware of how their vote would negatively impact their constituents.
  3. File a complaint with the Tennessee Human Rights Commission. Explain that this new law allows the state to arbitrate religious decisions that only individuals can make for themselves. Only the couple should be allowed to decide what sort of religious leader can perform their wedding ceremony. Under the new law, this decision has been granted to government officials.

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Tennessee Disclaimer

Individual ministers must ensure that they are in compliance with Tennessee marriage laws prior to officiating a wedding. While our ordinations are valid at the time of publication, ministers should ensure that they are up-to-date on the latest legal developments regarding Public Chapter 415 and associated rulings.

The foregoing paragraph does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.

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Contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter. No reader, user, or browser of this site should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information on this site without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.


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