A huge victory for transgender people in the state of Texas!
The case is a very tragic one, and dealt at its heart with bigotry and raw greed. Nikki Araguz, a transgender woman, legally married a firefighter who later was killed while fighting a fire. Mrs. Araguz tried to collect death benefits on behalf of her husband, and in steps both the ex-wife and mother of her husband, who decided to sue to get their hands on the money and away from that “man.” A lower court agreed with them, “despite the fact that a 2009 law allowed individuals like (Mrs.) Araguz to use their sex change certification as a document to obtain a marriage certificate.”
This case is very similar to the local Kansas case of In re Estate of Gardiner, 42 P.3d 120 (Kan. 2002). In that instance a man married a transsexual woman who not only had had SRS, she had gone to extreme lengths to erase her old identity, even changing school records. When the husband died, suddenly the estranged son sued for sole control of the $2.5 million estate, claiming that the wife, J,Noll, was a man and therefore the marriage was invalid. The Kansas Supreme Court agreed, and thus was set two precedents in Kansas:
- Transsexuals in Kansas cannot legally enter a heterosexual marriage.
- Transsexuals in Kansas can legally enter a lesbian or gay marriage.
As you may expect, the bigots have a serious problem with #2, but that’s just too damn bad. The US Supreme Court has ruled that everyone has a right to marry *someone*, so they have to choose – create legal same-sex marriages in a state which has banned it by Constitutional Amendment, or recognize that heterosexual transgender marriages are legal. Two choices, pick one, bigots.