A notice for Universal Life Church ministers who are looking to perform marriage ceremonies in the State of Tennessee:
It has come to the attention of the ULC Ministries that our ministers occasionally experience issues getting permission to file for marriage licenses from Tennessee county clerks. This is most likely due to a 1997 court case where the Tennessee state attorney general found that marriages performed by ministers of the Universal Life Church of Modesto, California (the "original" ULC) were of dubious legality.
Since then, county clerks have occasionally mistakenly applied this judgement to online-ordained ministers of ALL of the Universal Life Churches and other online ministries who function in the same way as them. This mis-application of the law effectively made these ministers' ordinations not recognized by the state of Tennessee and prevented them from performing legally-recognized wedding ceremonies there.
Key takeaways from these ministers' experiences:
To the best of the ULC Ministries's knowledge, our ministers' ordinations are completely legal and valid in the State of Tennessee.
Confused Tennessee county clerks occasionally deny our ministers the right to perform marriage ceremonies there.
The aforementioned clerk confusion has caused the ULC Ministries to put Tennessee on its short list of states that do not accept our ordination for the time being.
Thank you for reading this note. If you experience difficulties with county clerks - in Tennessee or beyond - please let us know by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.