Copeland sought ordination to offer same-sex marriage ceremonies

Published 3:00 am Saturday, February 7, 2015

A Pike County resident was ordained recently by the Universal Life Church in hopes that she can spread more love and not more hate.

Nicole Copeland said she sought the ordination in order to perform marriage ceremonies, particularly in anticipation of the legalization of same-sex marriages in Alabama come Monday. “The church I was ordained through is respectful of all religions. If they want to go and get married in field in cowboy boots that’s fine with me.”

The church recognizes all denominations, and Copeland said as long as a couple seems to know what they’re getting themselves into, she would gladly unite the two.

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“I’m not just going to do a wedding willy-nilly,” Copeland said. “I won’t say I will counsel them, but it’s not something that you just walk into.”

While the Pike County Probate Judge is citing religious beliefs as reasoning behind the decision to no longer issue marriage license or perform marriage ceremonies, Copeland said marriage was never a religious institution to begin with. “For me, I’ve said the whole time, marriage is not a religious right,” Copeland said. “If it were, then why would we need a probate judge to issue licenses if you are two consenting adults and it’s legal in the state you live? And as of Monday, fingers crossed, it will be legal here.”

All politics aside, Copeland said her decision ultimately came from a good place.

“This is coming from a good place,” Copeland said. “Why deny someone this right when the person next to them get it? I have gay friends, and it was something I wanted to be able to do it for them. And, it’s not just gay couples.

“Now, straight couples will have to find somewhere else to go if a probate judge won’t marry them.”