Ministers seek to invalidate state law on marriage licenses

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FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Three Williamson County ministers are seeking to invalidate portions of Tennessee‘s marriage statute.

A lawsuit filed Thursday notes Tennessee law requires marriage license applicants to be male and female.

Last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision struck down state laws that exclude same-sex couples. The suit argues that means Tennessee law pertaining to marriage licenses is invalid.

Tennessee law also requires a valid license before a marriage is solemnized. According to the lawsuit, the minister plaintiffs are concerned they may be breaking the law by solemnizing marriages for which there is no valid license.

Attorney and former state lawmaker David Fowler filed the lawsuit in Williamson County Chancery Court on behalf of the ministers and two others. The suit also seeks to prevent the county clerk from issuing all marriage licenses.

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