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.”

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