Senators decide against being marrying men (and women)

While members of a House committee have voted to grant current and former state legislators legal authority to perform marriage ceremonies, a majority of Senate Judiciary Committee members balked at the idea Wednesday.

The move came on a bill by Rep. Joe Armstrong, D-Knoxville, and Sen. Ken Yager, R-Harriman, that as filed granted former county clerks authority to perform marriages.

In the House Civil Justice Committee, the measure was extended by amendment to provide marrying authority to current and former members of the General Assembly.
When the matter came up in Senate Judiciary, Yager professed himself neutral on the issue of legislator wedding.

Current law allows current and former speakers of the state House and Senate to perform marriages along with an array of other state and local officials – but not rank-and-file legislators.

“If former county commissioners can (perform marriages), why not legislators?” asked Sen. Douglas Overbey, R-Maryville, at one point.

But when the vote came on the amendment, only three voted yes and four voted no. The bill was then approved by the committee 9-0 in its original form, applying only to former county clerks.