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VOL. 43 | NO. 25 | Friday, June 21, 2019

Internet-ordained ministers sue Tennessee over marriage ban

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NASHVILLE (AP) — A Tennessee law barring ministers ordained online from officiating at marriage ceremonies is being challenged in federal court.

The Universal Life Church Monastery is suing to block the law from taking effect July 1, saying it violates the freedoms of speech and religion enshrined in the state and federal constitutions.

The Times Free Press reports that the civil complaint says the law discriminates by allowing only "favored" religions that appoint ministers through non-internet channels.

The attorney general's office says it will defend the state's position. The bill's sponsors said in April that it clarifies legal questions.

The Universal Life Church describes itself as a non-denominational spiritual organization that has ordained 20 million ministers who fill out a form online.

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