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Brother Kevin

Pennsylvania Update

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For some time now, various clerks in Pennsylvania have been trying to obstruct ULC ministers from officiating marriage. They have sent out warning letters to couples who apply for marriage licenses, which they have carefully worded so that they don't actually state any facts but still tend to scare folks.

The ACLU has taken up the cause and has filed suit in three different counties. Rev. Frank Palumbo, who has some powerful political connections in his network, has also been working to bring about changes to the way things are done in Pennsylvania, and to prevent further erosion of religious freedom.

A judge in one of the Pennsyvlania counties has issued a ruling in favor of religious freedom, declaring valid a 2005 marriage that was officiated by a ULC minister.

News report on the above ruling

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sadly that doesn't apply to the whole state.

Ah, but other county judges can look to this decision as guidance, if not precedence.

I'm happy to see this development.

Peace.

Rev.John

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Jan. 2, 2009 Judge upholds marriage by online minister, Doylestown (AP) A Bucks County judge has upheld the legality of a marriage performed by a Universal Life Church minister, the latest ruling on whether marriages performed by clergy without a regular congregation are valid under Pennsylvania Law. Bucks County Judge C. Theodore Fritsch Jr. declared the 2005 marriage of Jason and Jennifer O'Neill valid, even though the minister- the groom's uncle- had been ordained in a matter of minutes after completing a short Universal Life form online. The test case is one of at least three filed across the state by the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union to clarify the type of clergy recognized under the Pennsylvania Marriage Act. A York County judge ruled last year that a minister must have a regular congregation or houseworship and and that marriages performed by anyone else was invalid. That case also included a Universal Life Minister. Fritsch's ruling is binding only in Bucks County, although the ACLU has won similar victories in recent months in Montgomery and Philadelphia

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For some time now, various clerks in Pennsylvania have been trying to obstruct ULC ministers from officiating marriage. They have sent out warning letters to couples who apply for marriage licenses, which they have carefully worded so that they don't actually state any facts but still tend to scare folks.

The ACLU has taken up the cause and has filed suit in three different counties. Rev. Frank Palumbo, who has some powerful political connections in his network, has also been working to bring about changes to the way things are done in Pennsylvania, and to prevent further erosion of religious freedom.

A judge in one of the Pennsyvlania counties has issued a ruling in favor of religious freedom, declaring valid a 2005 marriage that was officiated by a ULC minister.

News report on the above ruling

I am glad that the ULC is becoming legal in Pennsylvania, and that this is bringing psoitive news for the ULC as a whole.

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actually it was already legal, the original decision only had force of law in York county. county court decisions aren't statewide, but can be taken into account as pertinent caselaw.

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Well Rep Stan Saylor is trying to change that, and now with 3-4 conflicting cases in different counties it makes it legally dubious in any country without a current decision or until the PA statutes are addressed.

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