Erie County couple applies for marriage license on Valentine's Day

ERIE, PA—Feb. 14 - On the morning of Valentine's Day, Kathy Czarnecki-Smith and Christina Czarnecki-Smith walked into the Erie County marriage bureau and asked to apply for a license. Tammi Elkin, the Erie County deputy register of wills, apologized but indicated she was bound by state law regarding who could obtain a marriage license. Kathy promised "We'll be back!" and wished them a happy Valentine's Day, as the couple left the office.

They knew they would be turned down. The event was part of Marriage Equality for PA's efforts to raise awareness about marriage equality. But even though the couple knew what would happen, it still affected them deeply.

"We knew we were going to be rejected, but it still feels bad," said Kathy. "To come out here and know that we're not allowed to be married in this state."

"It's just sad," said Christina, her voice breaking up. "I love Kathy with all my heart, and that we can't be married here is just horrible."

"We'll be back," Kathy promised again.

Kathy and Christina were legally married in New York state, but wish to have their marriage recognized by Pennsylvania, the state in which they live.

Photos and video of the event on Erie Gay News' website and PA Equality Project (formerly Marriage Equality for PA)


Also view photos here.

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Kathy and Tina applying for PA marriage license - Posted Feb 14, 2014

Kathy Czarnecki-Smith and Christina Czarnecki-Smith respond - Posted Feb 14, 2014

Joshua Szczesny reacts - Posted Feb 14, 2014


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