Wiccan Wins Right to Wed Coven Couple

Associated Press, July 3, 1999

WILLIAMSBURG, July 2-A judge who had denied a Wiccan priestess a license to perform marriages for members of her coven has reversed his decision.

On June 7, Circuit Court Judge Samuel Powell turned down Stephanie LaTronica's application for a license to perform the ceremonies.

Last week, American Civil Liberties Union lawyers sent Powell documentation that LaTronica had met the requirements necessary for such a license. Powell then changed his mind and gave LaTronica her license, the ACLU's Virginia chapter said today.

"Wiccans may be small in number, but our religion deserves the same constitutional protections as any religion," LaTronica said in the ACLU statement.

Virginia law allows localities to decide whether to grant licenses to marry. Applicants must show a certificate of ordination and a letter from a federally recognized church verifying membership.

LaTronica is the leader of the Coven of the Rose Moon, which operates out of her home. She sent Powell a copy of the U.S. military chaplain's handbook, which names two Wiccan faiths, as well as documentation of the ordination school she attended, Lady of Enchantment in New Hampshire.

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