Are These Folks Married or Are They Not?

The excerpt below is from a rather lengthy article, published in the April 6, 2011 edition of the Daily Reporter, dealing with the strange case of a fake marriage between Erie residents Timothy Booth and Myra King. Pretty interesting…

ERIE, Pa. — Some marriages turn out to be shams.

Then there is the case of Erie residents Timothy Booth and Myra King.

Their purported marriage appears to have been a hoax.

The minister whose name appears on their marriage license does not exist, and neither does the minister’s church.

Now an Erie County judge must decide how to unravel the union — nearly 12 years after Booth and King, according to the disputed marriage license, wed on Dec. 1, 1999.

“This is an extraordinary case,” Judge Stephanie Domitrovich said.

In what she and the lawyers called the first case of its kind in Erie County history, Domitrovich this week heard Booth’s request that she strike his record of marriage by invalidating the marriage license on file at the courthouse.

Booth, 41, wants to get married again in June — for real, this time — and he wants the license voided so that he first doesn’t have to get a divorce.

“Did you ever consider yourself married to Ms. King?” Booth was asked in court on Monday.

“No,” he said.

Did he ever marry King?

“Never in a house, in a street, in a car, nowhere,” Booth said.

King, 38, who looked on angrily during Booth’s testimony, was equally adamant. She told Domitrovich the minister’s name was indeed made up.

But King is fighting Booth’s request to strike the marriage license. She said she and Booth have a 10-year-old daughter, for whom he is paying support, and that they held themselves out to be married for a time.

“This is just another of his schemes,” King testified.

Domitrovich said she would do more research before issuing a ruling. She said she has found one court case somewhat related to the dispute: a 1955 decision out of Allegheny County.

“It is strange,” said Domitrovich, who, in 21 years on the bench, has married many couples and divorced many more. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

The oddity originated in the two-step process for obtaining a marriage license. Booth and King properly followed the first step by going to the county Marriage Bureau on Nov. 4, 1999, and applying for a license.

Read the full article by Ed Palattella.

Author: Leland Meitzler

Leland K. Meitzler founded Heritage Quest in 1985, and has worked as Managing Editor of both Heritage Quest Magazine and The Genealogical Helper. He currently operates Family Roots Publishing Company (, writes daily at, writes the weekly Genealogy Newsline, conducts the annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour to the Family History Library, and speaks nationally, having given over 2000 lectures since 1983.

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