Texas may be forced to allow a gay marriage

Posted on 04 May 2010 at 8:51pm

There’s a fascinating little case out of El Paso in which a male-to-female transgender person is seeking to marry another woman.

The Texas Tribune reports that the El Paso county attorney is requesting an opinion from AG Greg Abbott about whether the trans woman can marry another woman, given that the trans woman was technically born a male.

Now I’m no expert, but I do believe that in the infamous 1999 case of Littleton v. Prange, a Texas appeals court refused to recognize a marriage between a man and a male-to-female transsexual, saying that you have to go by the birth certificate of the trans person.

But according to the Tribune, lawmakers changed the Family Code in 2009 to allow a sex-change court order to nullify a birth certificate for the purpose of marriage licenses. And it would certainly seem to me that the bottom line here is, you can’t have it both ways.

In other words, if you refuse to accept the existence of transgender people, as Abbott surely does, then you have to go by the birth certificate, right? So, if someone has a birth certificate saying they’re male, as in the current El Paso case, then they must be allowed to marry a woman.

On the other hand, if you refuse to allow this marriage because you accept that the trans person is now a woman, then you have to allow the marriage in Littleton.

It looks likeĀ  a lose-lose for Abbott and his right-wing cronies, because either way the state will be forced to allow what one group considers to be a same-sex marriage. And in some small way, it underscores the sheer ignorance of transphobia — and of refusing to allow consenting adults to marry the person they love.

UPDATE: The El Paso Times has posted a copy of the letter from County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal requesting Abbott’s opinion. Read it by going here.

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