Judge to rule this week in Nikki Araguz case

Nikki Araguz

Transgender widow vows appeal if she loses case

JUAN A. LOZANO  |  Associated Press

WHARTON, Texas — The transgender widow of a Texas firefighter will likely learn next week whether his family’s request to nullify their marriage and strip her of any death benefits will be granted, a judge said Friday.

State District Judge Randy Clapp made the announcement after hearing arguments in a lawsuit filed by the family of firefighter Thomas Araguz III, who was killed while battling a blaze last year. The suit argues that his widow shouldn’t get any benefits because she was born a man and Texas doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.

The widow, Nikki Araguz, said she had done everything medically and legally possible to show that she is female and was legally married under Texas law. She believes that she’s entitled to widow’s benefits.

“I believe the judge is going to rule in my favor,” Araguz said after the court hearing.

The lawsuit seeks control over death benefits and assets totaling more than $600,000, which the firefighter’s family wants to go to his two sons from a previous marriage. Voiding the marriage would prevent Nikki Araguz from receiving any insurance or death benefits or property the couple had together.

Thomas Araguz died while fighting a fire at an egg farm near Wharton, about 60 miles southwest of Houston, in July 2010. He was 30.

His mother, Simona Longoria, filed a lawsuit asking that her son’s marriage be voided. She and her family have said he learned of his wife’s gender history just prior to his death, and after he found out, he moved out of their home and planned to end the marriage.

But Nikki Araguz, 35, has insisted that her husband was aware she was born a man and that he fully supported her through the surgical process to become a woman. She underwent surgery two months after they were married in 2008.

Longoria’s attorney, Chad Ellis, argued that Texas law — specifically a 1999 appeals court ruling that stated chromosomes, not genitals, determine gender — supports his client’s efforts to void the marriage.

The ruling upheld a lower court’s decision that threw out a wrongful death lawsuit filed by a San Antonio woman, Christie Lee Cavazos Littleton, after her husband’s death. The court said that although Littleton had undergone a sex-change operation, she was actually a man, based on her original birth certificate, and therefore her marriage and wrongful death claim were invalid.

Ellis presented medical and school records that he said showed Nikki Araguz was born without female reproductive organs and that she presented herself as a male while growing up and going to school. He also said her birth certificate at the time of her marriage indicated she was a man.

“By law, two males cannot be married in this state,” Ellis told the judge.

Nikki Araguz, who was born in California, did not change her birth certificate to reflect she had become a female until after her husband’s death, said Edward Burwell, one of the attorneys for Thomas Araguz’s ex-wife, Heather Delgado, the mother of his two children.

But one of Nikki Araguz’s attorneys, Darrell Steidley, said that when his client got her marriage license, she presented the necessary legal documents to show she was a female. He also noted changes made in 2009 to the Texas Family Code that allowed people to present numerous alternatives to a birth certificate as the proof of identity needed to get a marriage license. That was an example, he argued, of the state trying to move away from the 1999 appeals court ruling.

The changes in 2009 allowed transgendered people to use proof of their sex change to get a marriage license. The Texas Legislature is currently considering a bill that would prohibit county and district clerks from using a court order recognizing a sex change as documentation to get married.

After the hearing, the firefighter’s family and attorneys for his ex-wife criticized plans by Nikki Araguz to star in a reality television dating show and implied she was only interested in money and fame that the case would bring her.

“That is absurd,” Nikki Araguz said in response. “I’m after my civil equality and the rights that I deserve as the wife of a fallen firefighter.”

If the judge rules against the firefighter’s family in their motion for a summary judgment, the case would then proceed to trial. Araguz said if the judge rules against her, she would appeal, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

—  John Wright

Dallas Cocktail Challenge tonight at Round-Up

Mixologists vie for top bartending bragging rights

Tonight,  Palm Springs (yes, the Palm Springs destination spot) is once again hosting its Summer Splash Cocktail Challenge, looking for the best bartender in the country. The winner in Dallas goes on to the desert ogaysis on June 2 to match mixology skills with other finalists from around the country. Our own Arnold Wayne Jones was a judge at last year’s event, pictured above, and he will be back again testing and scoping the talent tonight.

DEETS: Round-Up Saloon, 3912 Cedar Springs Road. 8 p.m. PalmSpringsCocktails.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Can’t Dancing On Ice Contestant Jeff Brazier Talk Bukkake With Gay Judge Jason Gardiner?

I want to say JG, before he rains on my parade, the boys are in the audience over there. They are experts in group insemination, I mean group interrogation, so just watch out.

—Jeff Brazier, the X Factor host (and reality TV veteran), who's competing on Britain's Dancing On Ice, in a televised remark to openly gay judge Jason Gardiner after his not-so-great routine, that had everyone thinking he's a homophobe. But his rep insists: "Jeff gets his words wrong sometimes, it was not on purpose."


Permalink | Post a comment | Add to , , , , ,

Queerty

—  admin

Judge Reverses on Lesbian Name Change

LAW JUDGE COURT LEGAL HEARING SENTENCE JUDGEMENT X390 (PHOTOS) | ADVOCATE.COMA circuit court judge in Virginia, who originally ruled in October
that a woman could not take the last name of her lesbian partner,
reversed that decision, ruling that her name change could go
forward.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

Judge: Cop Doesn’t Have to Out Officers

COP POLICE LAW ARREST X390 (ISTOCK) | ADVOCATE.COMA county judge decided that a police sergeant in Roseville, Calif., will
not have to name other gay and lesbian officers in a discrimination
lawsuit three officers filed against the city last year.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

Obama Renominates Gay Man as Federal Circuit Judge

Presdient Obama today re-nominated more than 40 judicial candidates, sending them to the Senate where they will face scrutiny from the Judiciary Committee.

Sam Stein reports: Dumont

"They may face an additional round of committee hearings, a Senate aide said, but that will be determined by Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and the ranking Republican, likely to be, according to a Senate aide, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). Hearings or no, the committee will have to vote on each candidate again before sending them back to the Senate floor for final consideration. And with more Republicans in the chamber than there were for the past two years, the nominees' chances may be slimmer."

Among the nominations is Edward Carroll DuMont of the District of Columbia, nominated to be United States Circuit Judge for the Federal Circuit. DuMont would be the first openly gay federal appellate court judge in the nation. DuMont was originally nominated last April.


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Judge Deciding Whether Uganda’s Rolling Stone Can Print Front Page ‘Hang Them’ News

Tomorrow a judge will tell Uganda's Rolling Stone newspaper whether launching a restaurant in LA is a stupid idea it can continue printing the names, faces, and home addresses of gays and lesbians under headlines like "Hang Them." It's unclear whether the judge's ruling will pertain only to Giles Muhame's rag or all media, but something tells me it's nothing a subscription drive can't fix!


Permalink | Post a comment | Add to , , , , , ,

Queerty

—  admin

Prop. 8 Appeal Judge Won’t Recuse Himself

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals x390 (fair) | advocate.comJudge Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. court of appeals for the ninth
circuit denied a request by Prop. 8 supporters to disqualify himself
from the case because his wife is a former director of the ACLU’s
Southern California office.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

CALIFORNIA: Protect Marriage Files Request For Recusal Of Prop 8 Judge

Protect Marriage has filed a formal request for the recusal of Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reindhardt, who is scheduled to be part of the three judge panel hearing the appeal of Proposition 8 on Monday. As I noted yesterday morning, at issue is Reinhardt’s wife and her involvement with the No On 8 campaign via her job with the ACLU.

In papers filed with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, lawyers for Proposition 8′s supporters said Judge Stephen Reinhardt’s “impartiality might reasonably be questioned” because his wife heads the Southern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. In that role, the judge’s wife, Ramona Ripston, has been an outspoken opponent of Proposition 8 and taken part in legal proceedings to overturn the voter-approved law, the lawyers said. They cited the friend of the court brief the ACLU filed on behalf of the plaintiff’s in the case pending before her husband as an example.

According to the above-linked story, Reinhardt has recused himself from past cases involving the ACLU.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

U.S. judge says lesbians can be ‘converted’ if allowed to serve in the military

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

This bit of repulsive information needs to be known:

Joe Rehyansky, a part-time magistrate and Vietnam veteran, wrote on conservative news site The Daily Caller that lesbians should be allowed to serve in the military because straight male soldiers could “convert” them.

The Daily Caller swiftly removed some of his remarks but not before they were picked up by other websites.

Mr Rehyansky, of Hamilton County, Tennessee, argued that men were naturally more promiscuous than women and “it fell to men to swing through the trees and scour the caves in search of as many women as possible to subdue and impregnate – a tough job but someone had to do it”.

Then, he claimed that the “promiscuity” of gay men, coupled with HIV, would have “the potential for disastrous health consequences” if gay men were allowed to serve openly in the military.

Rehyansky's entire piece is vomit-worthy, spewing the same anti-gay distortions which is now coming back to haunt organizations such as the Family Research Council. But it's the following part that's causing eyes, tempers, and blood pressures to be raised:

His final argument, which has now been removed by The Daily Caller, was as follows: “My solution would get the distaff part of our homosexual population off our collective ‘Broke Back,’ thus giving straight male GIs a fair shot at converting lesbians and bringing them into the mainstream.”

How very interesting that this piece came out the week before Congressional hearings and a vote on the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the military policy in regards to gays serving in the military.

Call it a hunch, but I'm betting those who want to retain the policy aren't going to be calling on Rehyansky as a witness.

 

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin