Universal Life Church Ministries Wins Legal Victory in Battle with Tennessee

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The Universal Life Church Ministries won a significant legal victory in its ongoing battle with the State of Tennessee as the Court ruled the case may proceed against several state and county officials.

ULCM shield and laurels logo in front of an outline of the state of Tennesee and the US Constitution

The Universal Life Church Ministries won a significant legal victory against the State of Tennessee in their ongoing legal battle over the rights of ministers who were ordained online.

The Universal Life Church Ministries, just before Christmas, earned a significant legal victory in its ongoing battle against the state of Tennessee.

The Universal Life Church Ministries, just before Christmas, earned a significant legal victory in its ongoing battle against the state of Tennessee.

In his most recent order in the case (No. 2:19-cv-00049), Chief Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Northeast Division granted that the lawsuit may continue against the Tennessee State Attorney General Herbert Slatery III and the Clerks and District Attorneys for Rutherford, Williamson, Putnam, and Hamilton Counties.

In June of 2019, the ULCM and a collection of its ministers sued several officials across the state of Tennessee after they began to enforce a law passed by the Tennessee State Legislature that explicitly barred ministers who were ordained online from solemnizing valid religious wedding ceremonies within the State. Almost immediately after filing the suit, the ULCM was able to secure from Judge Crenshaw a restraining order blocking the new law from taking effect.

In a letter sent to its Tennessee-area ministers this week, the ULCM stressed that despite the efforts made by the State to “gum up the works” in the prolonged case they “…remained committed to defending [the] Constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms,” of their ministers in Tennessee and elsewhere.

The Universal Life Church Ministries is a religious organization based in Seattle that has ordained more than 20 million ministers. It is perhaps most famous for its provision of ordinations, and various other religious services, over the internet. The ULCM was founded on the principle that “we are all children of the same universe” and encourages that its ministers abide by only two tenets: “1. Do only that which is right.” And “2. Every individual is free to practice their religion in the manner of their choosing, as mandated by the First Amendment, so long as that expression does not impinge upon the rights or freedoms of others and is in accordance with the government’s laws.”

The Universal Life Church Ministries and its ministers are represented in this case by Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.

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Brother G. Martin Freeman
@ulcmonastery
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