Transgender widow Nikki Araguz, who plans to marry her fiancé on Wednesday after an appeals court hears her case, was denied a marriage license in Harris County.
Araguz applied late last week and was accompanied by a film crew for a documentary about her story. But Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart, after conferring with the Harris County attorney, denied her marriage license application because of Texas’ marriage amendment.
It’s the same argument that lost Araguz her case in 2011, leading to her appeal. A Houston judge said that because she originally identified as male on her California birth certificate, Texas still views her as a male, and recognizing her marriage to her late husband, or now her fiancé, is against Texas law.
“Unfortunately we’re not going to be able to issue this,” Stanart told Araguz.
Araguz’s original birth certificate in California was reissued before her marriage to Thomas Araguz, a Wharton firefighter who was killed in the line of duty in 2010. The state views changing the sex as an error and issues an original birth certificate with the error corrected. But because Texas law keeps an original certificate on file and reissues a second one with the sex changed, the 2011 ruling referred to Texas law and relied on the fact that at one time, Araguz’s birth certificate listed her as male.
Araguz told the clerk she shouldn’t be denied a license because the Texas Family Code lists documentation of a sex change as a form to obtain a marriage license.
“This is an acceptable form of identification according to your 2009 family code but you’re denying me one,” Araguz said.
But Stanart said the state amendment trumped that because the state will always view her as male.
“Denying it per the constitutional amendment,” Stanart said.
Araguz still plans to marry her fiancé outside the appeals court in Corpus Christi on Wednesday after the gearing.
Watch the video below.