District Justice Refuses To Perform Marriage Ceremony

- A same - sex couple says they showed up to be married by a local District Justice but were turned away because of the judge's personal beliefs. Cynthia Baker and Carrie Loesel have been together for 15 years and now that gay marriage is legal in Pennsylvania they made an appointment for the big day.

They went to District Judge Joseph Lefaiver's office on East 26th Street to make it official in front of family and friends. They presented their license and paid the fee and at the last minute those plans changed. Carrie Loesel explains, “Judge Lefaiver asked me and my partner to come into his chambers and at that time he asked us to take a seat and told us that he was not going to be marrying us that it was against his beliefs"

The couple went to the Erie County Courthouse Wednesday morning to get answers as to why the District Justice was allowed to turn them away. Court administrators tell us District Justices are empowered to perform marriage ceremonies but they cannot be forced to do them.

Judge Lefaiver says he did not know ahead of time or he would have notified them earlier that he would not be marrying them. Judge Lefaiver also says he wants to avoid controversy and that he has performed more than 3000 marriages and says he has decided not to do any more.

Judge Tom Carney will marry them on Monday.

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