Marriage bill stalls amid debate over who can perform ceremonies

A seeking to allow more elected officials to officiate over wedding ceremonies has run into trouble in the House amid a myriad of questions about the purpose of the legislation.

Andy Sher of the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that Rep. Ron Travis (R-Dayton) put off the bill after extensive questioning on the House floor about the need for extending the officiating power to all current and former state lawmakers (the speakers of both chambers can already solemnize weddings), plus nearly 1,700 city or town council members.

The bill would also specify that that ministers, preachers, pastors, priests, rabbis, or other spiritual leaders must be ordained or “otherwise designated in conformity with the customs of a church, temple or other religious group or organization” in order to preside over weddings.

“We have right now in Tennessee a situation where people are going online and getting an online ordination in order to marry friends and family members,” said House Judiciary Chairman Michael Curcio (R-Dickson). “Right now we don’t know under the eyes of the law whether those are legal marriages. So we desperately need clarification.”

Some lawmakers raised concerns that the bill doesn’t prohibit gratuities to be paid to officials presiding over wedding ceremonies. Others worried they could be pressured into solemnizing marriages they don’t agree with.

Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster). (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster) said she sees marriage as a commitment as well as a “covenant and that I do support those who bring a man and a woman together in holy matrimony.”

“My question to you is do I have any protections should I say no if someone would ask me will you marry us and I say no?” Weaver asked. “What are the legal clarity protections to me when I say no? Are there any legal protections that are afforded to me?”

Travis said nobody will be forced to perform marriages.

“It is permissive what you want to do to ordain someone in marriage,” he said.

Weaver appeared unpersuaded.

“I guess what I’m rising to speak to is the religious liberties that I would like to be [permitted] to say no,” she said. “So because of the ambiguity in this piece of legislation, I would not be able to support this bill.”

Read the full story here.

 

33 Responses to Marriage bill stalls amid debate over who can perform ceremonies

  • Stuart I. Anderson says:

    That Terry Lynn Weaver is one smart lady! If sexual eccentrics are trying force bakers to bake cakes and florists to make flower arrangements for weddings that conflict with their religious beliefs it’s not a stretch to imagine the same totalitarians will try to force current and former state office holders and local officials to officiate at weddings under similar circumstances . I wonder if she is interested in running for U. S. Congress.

    • June landrum says:

      That might b ok. Terry Lynn stands up for our religious beliefs

      • Lenny says:

        Yes she does. We need more like her to lead us to Victory in the Great War on Christmas. No more Happy Holidays or sexual eccentrics at Walmart.

  • David Collins says:

    Stuart. You really can’t see the difference in someone who is open to the public–in the general stream of commerce ( a baker to use your example) and a private citizen who just happens to fall under the “blessed” group authorized by law to perform marriage rites? Perhaps if you were talking about a “wedding chapel” that is open to the general public and that is all they do, maybe. But a private individual who just happens to be authorized to do marriages? No way they could be sued for saying no.

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      David your making distinctions like a normal person rather than a totalitarian. As a normal person, if one baker or florist didn’t want to serve me I would simply go to another who did because I believe that while, for example, the Triboro Coach Co. had a franchise from the government that gave them a monopoly running buses along 35th Ave. in exchange for which they had to meet certain terms of service like serving anyone who appears at their bus stops, a baker and a florist make no such arrangements with the government so in a free country they should be able to serve whoever they want whenever they want and be subject to competition who would prosper if they did a lousy job.

      I know, this isn’t such a free country anymore so private businesses no longer have that right but as a libertarian I believe they certainly should so I would respect that right and take my business elsewhere. On the other hand, totalitarians who are sexual eccentrics purposely seek out owners of establishments who because of their religious convictions find their sexual eccentricities sinful so they can torment these individuals and drag them through the court system as part of their endless battle to force everyone to conform to their social attitudes. I do not doubt that with their love for “social justice” battles these totalitarians would drag a Terry Lynn Weaver through the court system in a jurisdiction that brought sexual eccentrics under the privileges of the so called civil rights laws. As I said, at the very least, I don’t blame her for being nervous because this isn’t such a free country anymore.

      • June landrum says:

        Terry Lynn is also a song writer, singer that leans toward gospel. Top notch person. We need more like her in ten legislature

  • Donna Locke says:

    We need more people who can perform legal marriage ceremonies, because many couples are not religious and many county clerks, because of intolerance and prejudice against LGBT people, no longer do marriage ceremonies. State law restricts who can perform these ceremonies, and it’s gotten harder for the nonreligious to find someone for the purely legal ceremony/shackling that marriage is under the law. ReIigious ministers are allowed to officiate, but marriage under the law is not a religious thing but a thing that bestows some legal rights and tax changes for the married individuals.

    We need more legally recognized officiators.

  • John W. Niven Jr. says:

    People who are not religious don’t need to be married. Marriage is an institution created by God.
    Online marriage ??? Ridiculous !!! Should not be recognized by the State of Tennessee or any other state.

    • Donna Locke says:

      John, look up history of marriage.

    • MarLE says:

      Marriage…created by God. Who created Divorce and Remarriage? Seems the Bible isn’t too keen on either of those but Religious Zealots don’t seem bother enough to refuse to bake cakes for them. Live daily in a proud and defiant Remarriage “lifestyle” and you’ll get your cake!

      • Stuart I. Anderson says:

        The baker and florist were happy to serve everyone and have a record doing so. What they objected to was using their artistic skills to CELEBRATE acts their religion regards as sinful thus violating their religious beliefs via government mandate in violation of the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution. I believe business owners would similarly be entitled to refuse to use their services to CELEBRATE divorce or remarriage if those acts violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.

        • Donna Locke says:

          I have been outspoken on my feelings that we all must have respected rights to our labor and creations. We can sell some of those rights, as I have been willing to do and had to do as a writer, but I, not the government or anyone else, made that decision. So I have publicly supported the cake bakers, the floral arrangers, or whoever else has refused to work for LGBT couples, though it pains my heart they feel this way.

          We get into civil rights issues in terms of retail service, but I have always had a different take on that when it involves a private business with no public funds involved. This gets complicated, I know.

        • MarLE says:

          What I am asking, Stuart, is whose Bible suggests that Divorce and Remarriage isn’t sinful? It seems like if the Bible is your Source of what is or isn’t sin then you need to refuse to celebrate ALL sin or your motives should be questionable in the law.

          • Eddie White says:

            I think Stuart answered your question. If a baker or florist does not want to celebrate a ceremony celebrating a remarriage, they have ever right to. Just the same as not celebrating a gay marriage. They are both based on Biblical beliefs.

          • Lenny says:

            What about the War on Christmas, Stuart? Are you okay with Walmart saying Happy Holidays?

          • MarLE says:

            No, Eddie. Stuart did not answer my question. Where, other than the Bible or some other written or oral source, do “deeply held Religious” beliefs come from? Most of the cases involve Christian beliefs which come from the Bible. So….when it comes to The Word of God is this a pick-you-sin to be offended by situation? This is, in part, why Christian beliefs are attacked. They seem to be arbitrary in that some “sinful” lifestyles listed in the Bible are ignored why others are so offensive you can’t put flowers in a vase or bake a cake.

          • Stuart I. Anderson says:

            Whenever anyone says “Happy Holidays” I take great joy, unless they are wearing a fez or a turban or every possible strand of the hair on a lady’s head is scrupulously covered, etc., in responding with a “MERRY CHRISTMAS” in a somewhat louder voice! As for Walmart, 2nd Vote gives it a paltry 1.3 out of 5, and I just LOVE well constructed ratings, so I avoid Walmart on ideological as well as aesthetic grounds whenever the cost in convenience isn’t too great.

          • Lenny says:

            I go back and forth on Walmart, Stuart. “Happy Holidays” and selling clothes with mixed fabrics goes against the Scriptures, but they also sell camoflauge Duck Dynasty KJV Bibles. They can’t be totally lost.

          • Stuart I. Anderson says:

            In the cases that the totalitarian sexual eccentrics pursue, the specific actions of the business owners are judged on the grounds of comparing what they did and what beliefs they hold as a basis for what they did and the sincerity of those beliefs. The First Amendment speaks in terms of prohibiting the government from establishing a religion “. . . or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” that’s all. No governmental tests of theological soundness of beliefs allowed. Questions about the sincerity of the defendant’s beliefs are on the other hand always are allowed. Sometimes its a close call but a court taking the position that “. . .if the Bible is your Source of what is or isn’t sin then you need to refuse to celebrate ALL sin or your motives should be questionable. . .” is a bridge WAY too far.

          • MarLE says:

            It isn’t a bridge too far. If I can pick and choose from a moral source such as the Bible then I suppose I should be able to interpret any scripture I want just as I choose and if that means gays are the only sinful lifestyle I wish to label as violating my conscience then so be it, right? Can you see why so many people find this nonsense and just a cover for real animus? WE, Christians would do better if we could at least try to be consistent OR better yet if we used reason and logic and left Bible versus out of our arguments….just like the Founding Fathers tried to do.

  • Donna Locke says:

    I’d like to say here that I would like to have been in Nashville to lobby for and against some bills this session, but I cannot be there.

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  • Eddie White says:

    What is a Christian if their arguments are solely reason and logic and not informed by scripture? I agree that Christians should be as consistent as possible in applying scripture. That does not negate those who find the gay lifestyle sinful and don’t want to participate in the celebration of such. The argument that you can’t single out a particular sin without calling out all sinners is really just a straw horse to keep conservative Christians from taking a public stand on the gay lifestyle.

    • Donna Locke says:

      Eddie, you can holler about it all you want, but you won’t stop natural biological wiring and possibly the soular androgyne behind it. And Christians in this country can’t deny people’s civil rights. Forever, anyway. The rights of some have taken a long time to be recognized. We won’t be going backward on that as long most in this country continue to think the U.S. Constitution is worth our collective agreement.

    • MarLE says:

      It is informed by Scripture…..ALL of scripture, not just some parts of it. So the Bible calls divorce and remarriage sinful. The union is sinful and the couple lives a publicly defiant lifestyle in conflict with the Scripture. Have we ever had a case of a baker or florist refusing to accommodate them? NO….we haven’t. What makes violating Gods’ Word just fine in the case of remarriage but not ok in the case of gay marriage. You make it hard to not find this against the whole spirit of the Bible.

    • Lenny says:

      Amen, Eddie. The only thing that troubles my heart more than cashiers saying “Happy Holiidays” is when “Christians” say that all sins are equal. You don’t have to repent if you’re divorced and remarried. I know several preachers who have lain with several women over the age of 14. That is not a sin. Neither is eating pork or wearing clothes made of mixed fabrics. Homosex makes Jesus cry though. It is an abomination. DuckDynasty4Evr

      • MarLE says:

        Lenny…you have eloquently described the “Select from the menu” version of the Bible it seems many Christians subscribe to .

        • MarLE says:

          Add to that the absolute right for a businessman to refuse to serve whomever he pleases, not for prejudicial reasons, of course, but for Biblical ones. Woolworth’s only mistake is that they didn’t have a Bible verse at the ready. And who doesn’t realize that passengers in the back of the bus get to their destination in the same nano-second that passengers in the front do.

          so much hullabaloo over, what~ nothing but your god-given right to discriminate. WWJD?

  • Eddie White says:

    The only ones hollering in this debate are those who are demanding that Christians accept the gay lifestyle as a God created right.

    • MarLE says:

      No one demanded acceptance of anything but only pointed out the inconsistency of treating the Word of God as a Pick-from-the-menu Bible.

  • Eddie White says:

    There is no inconsistency at all . Some Christians belief the Bible speaks clearly on this issue. They are not picking and choosing any sin above another. They are simply refusing to celebrate the sin of another.

    • Lenny says:

      Amen, Eddie. Women should be silent in the churches. I never sit in a chair that a women has sat in because how are we to know if she’s menstruating? I thank God for consistent Christians like you. Terry Weaver should be silent in the committee though. Women are to submit, right?

    • Lenny says:

      Also, these Republicans who are tying to legalize Bingo must be voted out. MERRY CHRISTMAS

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