NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – An online church is in Nashville working around a new marriage law in Tennessee.
Starting July 1, people who were ordained online won’t be able to legally perform marriages.
In response, American Marriage Ministries or AMM which typically only ordains ministers online, has been on a week long trek across the Volunteer state to do it in person.
More than 300 people lined up in Nashville Thursday for the on-site ordination.
“It was very simple, it was a simple process,” Michael Ramirez told News 2.
Within about 10 minutes, Ramirez filled out a few forms that now says he can legally marry couples in Tennessee.
“Up until two weeks ago we weren’t equipped to deal with these sort of ordinations, but when we found out about the law and we started hearing from our ministers, we received a real outcry for help,” Lewis King who is the Executive Director of AMM told News 2.
He says four ministers with AMM out of Seattle packed up 1,000 ordination applications and 150 copies of their minister’s manual and headed to Tennessee to ordain ministers in person.
Nashville is their final stop on a six-city tour that’s been overwhelming, leading the group to order more of everything.
“What we did is we said well we could come here and do basically the same thing in person and do so that’s in compliance with the law and allow our ministers to uphold their commitments to the communities that they serve and so that’s precisely what we did. We put together a form and it includes an affidavit and we think it’s pretty bullet proof, it will let our ministers do what they need to do still,” King explained.
Ramirez said otherwise he may not have been able to help his friends say, “I do.”
“It’s not just within a church that couples want to be married, so they want to be married sometimes by relatives or friends of the family, so you know I’m very appreciative they came here and did this today,” he said.
Ramirez is one of more than 300 people in Nashville alone that AMM ordained in person within just a few hours.
“What we are realizing here is that every single community in Tennessee is effected negatively by this law so we are meeting people from across the spectrum who are coming in to get ordained because they’ve lost access to minsters that represent their values and beliefs,” said King.
The group says they hope it’s just a temporary fix and that the law is ultimately overturned. They have ordained more than 1,300 ministers in person in the past week in Tennessee.
They plan to be set up at the Holiday Inn-Vanderbilt in Nashville until 7:00 Friday night.