A transgender Texas woman has been forced to use litigation in order to preserve her basic rights on two occasions. The first came after she was widowed by her husband and then, three years later, when she sought to remarry. Despite the fact that she is legally female, with an amended birth certificate and formal documentation supporting her transition, local bureaucrats insist that her gender is male and have therefore denied her legal rights.
Same-sex couples have recently had their right to marry upheld by the Supreme Court’s overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act. However, certain jurisdictions in Texas have refused to recognize when transgender individuals change their gender, claiming that their interpretations of gender supersede legal amendments to birth certificates.
The Texas woman has experienced this discriminatory treatment more than once. After being married for years to her husband, despite the fact that Texas would not recognize their union, she was denied death benefits after his untimely demise. Three years after his passing she once again seeks to marry, but has again been denied. The Texas Family Code states that her identification is sufficient for a marriage license, and since her birth certificate has been legally amended, her identification is in order. However, the local government in her town has chosen to view the statewide ban on same-sex marriage with higher priority than the Family Code, causing them to refuse her a marriage license once again.
The inherent contradictions in the state’s position became obvious when the woman in question was told that she could marry another woman, as in their interpretation the same-sex marriage ban would not apply in that instance. A lawyer could give those in the transgender community the legal advice necessary to reform these issues.
Source: Care 2, “Transgender Widow Fights for the Right to Remarrym “, S.E. Smith, September 17, 2013