Ex-Westmoreland Co. Magistrate failed to officially certify marriages

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WESTMORELAND COUNTY, Pa. - A  Westmoreland County Magistrate who died in 2008 is still causing problems for the couples who think they were married by him.

Officials said Magistrate Raymond Tubbs failed to send the marriage licenses to the Westmoreland County Courthouse to be certified.

A certified copy of a marriage license isn’t just a keepsake, it’s needed to prove marriage so each side can receive social security and other benefits.

Karen Butler said she was only 16 when Tubbs married her and her ex-husband. The marriage lasted only 13 years, but Tubbs never officially married them.

“I knew I’d be the one,” Butler said. “It’s always me. They said one out of seven and I knew I’d be the one.”

Michael Ginsburg, a register of wills, said it’s important to have an official marriage when a spouse passes away.

“When you want to get your husband’s pension or your wife’s veteran’s benefits, these companies want proof and your marriage license isn’t good enough, you need the certified copy from this office,” Ginsburg said.

A total of 35 couples have called to check the status of their marriages, and five found out they didn’t have valid licenses.

The register of wills said the process usually has to be fixed by an attorney, but they will do it for free because of the misunderstanding.

“We talked with our solicitor and the judge and we can now help these people by doing the paperwork for them,” Ginsburg said.

Anyone who was married by Tubbs should contact the register of wills office and see if they have your certified marriage license.