Four Tennessee county clerks are being sued over a new state law preventing online-ordained ministers from officiating weddings.
The Universal Life Church Monastery Storehouse (ULC Monastery) filed a lawsuit last Friday on behalf of three of its Tennessee ministers.
One of the ministers, Rev. James Welch of Putnam County, is named as a plaintiff, while Putnam County Clerk Wayne Nabors is listed as a defendant.
The lawsuit states the new state law discriminates against ULC Monastery and restricts their protected speech without justification.
According to the lawsuit, ULC Monastery and its ministers claim the new law violates U.S. constitutional rights, including the First Amendment and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The new law is to go into full effect beginning Monday. According to the lawsuit, Welch was scheduled to solemnize a wedding for a couple in Putnam County on July 6.