A lesbian couple will marry in Carl Ginsberg’s courtroom in the Allen Courts building in Dallas on Friday
To see pictures of the wedding, click here.
Danielle Pellett and her partner JJ Larson will be legally married in the court of 193rd District Court Judge Carl Ginsberg on Valentine’s Day morning. Larson was born a woman, and Pellett is a trans woman. They’ll be married together with another cis/trans lesbian couple.
Pellett said the other couple made the arrangements and were turned down by 17 other judges before they found Ginsberg. Once they did, Pellett and Larson decided to join them.
“It’s a legal heterosexual marriage in the eyes of the law,” Pellett said.
A 1999 lawsuit called Littleton v. Prange voided the marriage between Christie Littleton, a trans woman, to a man. All of Littleton’s identification had been changed to match her female identity, but the appeals court ruled that for purposes of Texas law, Littleton was a man.
Since Texas doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage, the couple’s marriage was ruled invalid. But that decision also made it legal for a trans woman to marry another woman.
That’s the ruling that allowed the Dallas County Clerk’s office to issue the couple a marriage license, while denying licenses to other same-sex couples that have applied for them. And it’s the ruling that allows Ginsberg to officiate.
A Texas ruling Thursday in the Nikki Araguz case found that a sex change allows trans people to marry opposite-sex partners. Pellet has not had a sex change, so can still marry Larson under that ruling.
Pellett and Larson met at University of North Texas when Pellett was still presenting as male.
“It was a cold day and I was wearing a long denim coat,” Pellett said. “I offered to open my coat and put my arms around her.”
She said Larson thought she was a cute gay boy.
“I should have told her I’m trans and going full time,” she said.
The next time they met was the following semester at a meeting of GLAD, UNT’s LGBT social organization. Larson was with someone who came with her for moral support.
Pellett was presenting as female by then. Larson had a trans friend in high school, so she was very comfortable dating Pellett. Her only worry was that her attraction to Pellett made her straight.
Pellett finished her degree in forensic chemistry and works as a chemist. Larson got her degree in metal smithing and works for a jeweler, and the couple has been together for eight years. They had a handfasting ceremony two years ago.
Pellett and Larson first applied for their marriage license in Grand Prairie where they were turned down even though they presented proper ID that showed they were an opposite-sex couple. The clerk wasn’t looking at the ID and didn’t know the Littleton case.
“They told me they’d let me get married to a man,” Pellett said.
After Dallas County issued the license at the County Records Building in Downtown Dallas, she went back to the Grand Prairie office to show them.
Pellett travels for business and for the couple’s eighth anniversary in November, she was scheduled to be in Taiwan. When her employer heard she’d be away for her anniversary, he let Pellett take Larson on the trip with her to celebrate eight years together.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 14, 2014.